Colliery uses drones to safeguard old dumpsites

Source: Colliery uses drones to safeguard old dumpsites | Sunday News (Business)

Fairness Moyana in Hwange
HWANGE Colliery Company Limited has procured a drone as part of its efforts to assist in the security of its concessions following growing reports of illegal coke harvesting activities taking place at its old coal mine dumpsites.

This follows the death of a 16-year-old teenager who was killed while scavenging for coke at an old mine dumpsite last week.

The deceased, Shallom Lunga was buried alive when a tunnel he was scavenging coke from collapsed. Early this month, another young girl Alisha Sekina Mazwiti (8) was seriously injured after being burnt by underground coal fires while attempting to relieve herself near her residence.

Illegal coke scavenging has also claimed the lives of two women and resulted in some sustaining injuries. Covid-19 saw a lot of people, particularly women, venturing into illegal coke and old metal scavenging at dumpsites.

Responding to queries on what the company was doing in light of the incidents, the corporate affairs manager, Dr Beauty Mutombe said they were employing a raft of measures to curb unnecessary loss of life.

“HCCL is doing a lot to guard against the incidents of people getting burnt at old dumpsites. There are hazards (fire) warning signs in all these areas. HCCL recently procured and licensed a drone to assist in the security of the concessions,” said Dr Mutombe.

She said the company had also been carrying out campaigns to raise awareness on the dangers of hazards found in certain mined out areas.

“HCCL has been carrying out awareness campaigns in schools and villages educating the communities on the dangers of frequenting these areas where there are or we suspect spontaneous fires,” she said.

Dr Mutombe blamed trespassing as the cause for the incidents arguing that while patrols were being done in the said areas it was difficult to keep people off.

“We have security personnel patrolling in these areas to weed out thieves and stray animals. But humans are humans, they hide and run away, at times they alert each other through social media of the security details around the area.

“Unfortunately, all these incidences happen through trespassing. Some would be scavenging for coal and some for clay. However, we do not tire, we will continue to do the right thing to save life,” she said.

Meanwhile, police in Hwange have expressed concern over the increase in unsanctioned and risky activities that have led to loss of life and said stiff action would be taken. Matabeleland North provincial police spokesperson, Inspector Glory Banda said stiffer measures would be employed to curb the loss of life.

“We discourage members of the public from carrying out unsanctioned and risky activities within mining concessions especially at disused mine shafts,” said Insp Banda.

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