- June 6, 2021
- Posted in NEWS
Zimbabwe Diamond and Allied Mine Workers Union (ZDAWU) celebrates the Kamandama disaster educating mine workers about safety concerns and regulations, the union’s General Secretary Mr Justice Chinhema has said.
The ZDAWU General Secretary said his union was joining the rest of the country in remembering the lives lost at the mine.
“We join the families and all mine workers in Zimbabwe in remembering this day.
“We are very much on the ground educating mine workers about safety concerns and regulations.” He said.
Former Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) Mashonaland West Provincial Chairperson Ms Chiedza Chipangura said miners have the responsibility to prioritize safety.
“6 June 2021 markets 49 years after the Wankie Colliery Mine Disaster. 427 lives were lost. If it happened then it can happen again today. But we have the responsibility to mitigate. Make Mine Safety a Priority,” Chipangura said.
The Hwange coal mine disaster took place on 6 June 1972 when a series of underground explosions occurred at the Wankie No.2 colliery. With 427 fatalities, it remains the deadliest mine accident to date in the country’s history.
The disaster took place at the Hwange colliery when several gas explosions ripped through the mine. It was initially believed that 468 miners were trapped, but the number was lowered after the owners found a number of people had not shown up for work.
Eight men were pulled alive from the mine after the initial explosions. Two new explosions on 7 June poured clouds of poisonous gas into 4.8 kilometres of tunnels, making further rescue attempts impossible.
On 9 June, the general manager of the Wankie Colliery, Gordon Livingstone-Blevins, decided to leave the 424 bodies where they were. Three bodies had been recovered after the initial explosions. A mass memorial service took place on 11 June at a nearby football stadium, where a crowd of about 5,000 people paid tribute.
“This has cast a gloom over the whole country,” Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith said during the service.