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12 Feb 2024

Harriet Chikandiwa, News Day, Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe: Govt. moves to shutdown unsafe and illegal mines in efforts to contain fatalities

‘Unsafe mines face closure’ 6 February 2024

The government is working on modalities that could see several mines being shut down and mining activities halted if they are deemed to be unsafe and illegal in a raft of measures intended to contain fatalities. Stiffer penalties are also expected to be imposed on people found conducting mining activities at unsafe and illegal mines. Zimbabwe recorded 237 mining-related deaths from 212 accidents last year, an increase from 139 fatalities recorded in 2022 from 121 accidents. Last month, 15 miners were trapped for four days when a shaft collapsed at the Redwing gold mine in Penhalonga. In the same month, two artisanal miners died as a result of a mineshaft collapse at Master Cecil Mine in Umguza district, Matabeleland North province.

…Mines and Mining Development deputy minister Polite Kambamura announced the new measures during a parliamentary question-and-answer session, following a joint brainstorming meeting. “We had a meeting, our ministry — Mines and Mining Development — the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Environment, to brainstorm on ways to implement safer mining standards and also stop illegal mining, considering the havoc that the illegal miners are causing to the environment,” he said.

…“We also deliberated on coming up with a statutory instrument, which empowers local communities to report any unsafe mining standards in their area and wherever they suspect there could be illegal mining or unregistered mining taking place,” he said. The deputy minister said the ministry’s inspectorate teams would be going around the mines to check on compliance to the provisions of the mining and management safety regulations. The regulations proscribes miners from entering disused mines while promoting safe and sustainable mining activities.