This past week has seen large scale mining operators reporting some of their staff members testing positive for Covid-19. The pandemic is surging locally and as expected it was just a matter of time before it hit the mining industry.
Hwange Colliery Company Limited, Unki mine, How Mine and Fidelity Printers and Refiners all reported cases of the virus at their respective workplaces.
Perm Sec of Information and Publicity Nick Mangwana also shared a post were miners and gold buyers attended a house party in Bulawayo which about 90 attended. Six have reportedly succumbed to the disease which is now causing panic in the Industry.
Whilst large scale miners are better equipped for dealing with preventative measures to the virus more needs to be done to increase awareness in the ASM sector.
A recent visit by Mining Zimbabwe to ASM in MashWest saw workers not following recommended health and safety guidelines and zero use of PPE’s. There were no temperature checks or hand sanitisers and workers’ shared equipment, food utensils, and traditional handshakes were observed.
This is a worrying trend that if left unmanaged will see the disease easily spreading in the ASM sector. The government should assist in the supply of PPE in the sector and scale-up efforts for the compulsory use of PPE’s.
The country has 4,221 confirmed cases, 1,238 recovered and 81 deaths. Meanwhile, Metalon Gold’s matebeleland based How Mine is locked-down due to 24 employees testing positive for the Virus.
Covid-19 is real. It has now infiltrated the industry. Whilst it is natural to panic keeping safe and following WHO guidelines is the way to go…
This article first appeared in the Mining Zimbabwe August 2020 issue