BY NKOSENTSHA KHUMALO
THE Zimbabwe Mining Safety Health and Environmental Council (Zimshec) has partnered the Zimbabwe School of Mines (ZSM) and the Midlands State University (MSU) to introduce a skills development programme for small-scale miners in the Midlands and Matabeleland regions.
Zimshec was formed last year by small-scale and artisanal miners to promote occupational health and safety, environmentally-friendly and sustainable mining practices.
This follows deaths of several miners after getting trapped in mineshafts due to poor safety and mining practices.
Zimshec Safety Health and Environmental Council manager Thubeluhle Sibanda said the three-month training programme would cover occupational health and safety risks to miners.
“As Zimshec, we realised that most small-scale miners are not well-equipped in terms of knowledge of safe mining. We have managed to have about 30 students attending a three-month training course at the ZSM to undergo what we call first aid and proto teams training,” Sibanda said, adding that every mine should have first aid kits and a first aid team to respond quickly to accidents.
“The courses introduced at MSU will commence on August 1 and will cost US$200. Upon completion of the course, they will be awarded certificates in safety, health and environment in small-to-medium scale mining. The course has six modules which include introduction to safety, health and environment in mining, introduction to risk and conflict management, plant machinery and materials application, professional ethics and practice in mining, environmental impact assessment norms, technological entrepreneurship and innovation in mining,” Sibanda added.
Mines minister Winston Chitando said: “Small-scale miners are now contributing 60% of the total gold output in Zimbabwe and the ministry will support Zimshec by all means possible in its efforts to train small-scale miners. We will organise awareness campaigns and workshops which will ensure that Zimshec connects and meets up with donors who can actually help small-scale miners.”