Eighty-four people died in 2020 due to mining accidents in the Midlands province alone amid calls for improved workplace safety.
Between January and February this year, eight people have already lost their lives to mining-related accidents.
Most accidents take place in uninspected and unsafe mines where artisanal miners work without supervision as they search for gold.
The Minister of State for Midlands Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Larry Mavima, revealed this during a recent Zanu-PF Provincial Coordinating Committee (PCC) meeting at the Winnery Convention Centre in Gweru on Saturday.
“Last year, the province lost 84 lives through mining-related accidents,” he said.
“Similarly, in the month of February as a province, we experienced another four mining-related deaths bringing the total number of mining-related deaths to eight this year only.”
Minister Mavima said the fatal mining accidents were common in uninspected and unsafe mines. Artisanal miners are popular for operating in disused mines, some of which would have been abandoned many years back.
“Given the foregoing, we are working with the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development to improve general safety in the mining industry and closing down all mines that are not inspected and are unsafe,” said the minister.
Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) spokesperson, Mr Dosman Mangisi, concurred with the minister saying unmonitored mining activities were the root cause of the accidents. Artisanal gold mining activities have been on the increase across the Province.
“The major causes of these accidents are unsupervised mining operations, lack of people who can lead and monitor operations, especially on areas of drilling and blasting. That is where we see a number of accidents taking place,” said Mr Mangisi.