Conrad Mupesa Mash West Bureau
Small scale and artisanal miners have been urged to exercise caution in their operations as cases of mine accidents leading to deaths and injuries are rife.
The call was made by Mines and Mining Development Minister, Winston Chitando during a visit to Task Mine in Chegutu yesterday, where efforts are underway to rescue five workers trapped underground following mineshaft collapse earlier this week.
Minister Chitando said while many, particularly youths were being employed through the gold mining sector, it was prudent for the workers to consider orderly and careful mining to avoid injuries and loss of life.
“All the mines including Task Mine Syndicate should operate under the dictates of orderly and careful mining. I am reliably informed by Chegutu East legislator, Cde Webster Shamu, about disorderly mining in and around Chegutu and it is my wish that the Ministry of Mines and various players, including Zimbabwe Miners’ Federation (ZMF), engage for orderly mining across the mining sector.
“There was a resolution that was passed in Cabinet regarding orderly mining and strict safety, health and environmental standards. As a Ministry, we are tasked to ensure that all players follow the guidelines,” he said.
He said while there were new guidelines to be adhered to, the focus for now was to rescue the trapped miners through the concerted efforts from various Ministries.
“After the rescue, we will then reflect and check on what needs to be done to avoid future accidents.”
Ministry of Mines Permanent Secretary, Mr Munesu Munodawafa said preliminary investigations showed that the collapse was caused by a weak support system.
“We have too many mine shafts close to about 30 in a very small area which affects support work,” he said.