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Midlands reports shocking 57 mining fatalities

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Midlands reports shocking 57 mining fatalities

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ALVINA CHIWANIKA
MIRROR REPORTER

SHURUGWI – In the 80s’ and 90s’ when Chamber of Mines affiliated companies employed over 60 000 workers countrywide, the total fatalities per year barely exceeded 19.
It would cause an outcry when the figure got to 21.
In 2023 the Midlands Province alone recorded an astounding 45 fatalities and another 13 were killed in January 2024 alone.
Under normal circumstances this situation must be declared a national disaster.
On Monday, the Environment Management Authority (EMA), Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, mining groups and other stakeholders gathered at a lodge in Shurugwi to create awareness on mining safety and reduce accidents and fatalities.
A ministry official who spoke at the workshop blamed haphazard mining systems and the failure to employ qualified mine managers as some key causes of accidents. The officer accused miners of not complying with mining and safety rules.
Ministry of Mines Midlands engineer, Joel Musekiwa said miners were too daring and working at old mines like Germany shafts where rocks are loose and poisonous gases are frequently encountered.
“Accidents are increasing and we are here to educate you on how to curb this problem. We realise that inexperienced miners are sometimes put at the forefront in underground shafts thereby causing accidents. People come straight from Gokwe where the core business is growing cotton and suddenly they are thrown in the deep end of the mines without any experience. What should you expect? Accidents of course.
“Avoid mining in old shafts like Germany shafts, they are now death traps and don’t cut off pillars supporting the mine. Gas and loose rocks are also causing fatalities in the mine sector,” said Musekiwa.
Julio Majera, a mines engineer said that Shurugwi and Mberengwa had the highest fatality rates in the Midlands Province.
“During the year 2023 an estimated 45 miners were killed in accidents in the Midlands Province. A further 13 were killed in January 2024 alone. Let us be vigilant when mining especially during the rainy season. Mine owners should take safety measures to the employees to avoid loss of life,” said Majera.
EMA spokesperson Oswald Ndlovu emphasised the need to do Environment Impact Assessment as this results in well informed decisions.
“This year every miner should put their houses in order. Whenever you contract someone to mine on your area make sure they close the pits. It’s not EMA’s responsibility to close those dumping areas,” said Ndlovu.
EMA also complained against littering at the mines.
“We are witnessing a lot of littering at mine premises. Cleaning up is now compulsory and if you don’t do that the law will punish you,” said Ndlovu.
Delegates at the workshop complained against the absence of Chinese mining entities and Zimasco.
“We had complaints against Zimasco’s dumping sites where three children lost their lives. The company should also be here attending this workshop. We expect Chinese miners here, they are mining all over Shurugwi causing air pollution by blasting,” said Sarah Zvenyika .

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