Ministry of Mines and Mining Development (MMMD) in collaboration with the Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) Mashonaland central have embarked on a safety awareness tour to improve Safety and Awareness of miners in the province.
The workshop comes at a time where alarming numbers of mine accidents and deaths have been recorded. Recently, eight people including six Chinese nationals, died when gas cylinders exploded at SAS gold mine in Mazowe.
Addressing miners at Kwela 6 Milling Centre in Mazoe, mining engineer Eugene Gota emphasized the importance of legal compliance when handling explosives to ensure safe and sustainable mining.
“It is illegal to use explosives without a permit. We encourage our miners to acquire explosives permits first so that they can purchase them freely and legally.
“Another issue is the handling, use and storage of explosives. Miners should build requisite storage facilities for their explosives to avoid similar accidents like the ones we have seen from the past,” Gota said.
Also speaking at the workshop was Trojan representative Mr Gumede who encouraged miners to take safety precautions in their mining activities.
“The goal is to make money safely and it is very possible if we take safety precautions at our mines. Before we even start mining, it’s critical to identify dangers surrounding us and come up with solutions”.
He added, “Protective clothing is very critical. When it comes to our workers’ safety, no compromises should be made. It’s cheaper to spend money buying safety clothing because you will lose more money if your workers get injured and your production is stopped.
“Emergency preparedness is also very important. Miners should always have first aid kits at their operations,” said Gumede.
Another critical issue that was raised was the use of mine registers. Miners were encouraged to incorporate daily registers so that workers can sign in when they go underground and sign out when they come out.
“When an accident happens, it’s easier to identify the people affected and their names if there is a daily register. We do not want a Chegutu disaster repetition where the number and names of miners who were trapped underground were unknown,” Gumede said.
ZMF mash central chairperson, Christine Munyoro also encouraged miners to be aware of TB and silicosis which is affecting a lot of mine workers.
“Miners are greatly affected by TB and Silicosis which is caused by dust and silicon that we use at our mines. Silicosis is a permanent disease that can affect you for life, therefore I encouraged our miners to invest in effective protective clothing. Let us make sure that our workers have air-purifying respirators and gloves among other protective clothing when they go underground,” Munyoro said.
Miners were also taught the importance of regularly serving their mining equipment to avoid fatal accidents.