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19 Jun 2023

Mary Taruvinga, New Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe: Two employees die due to unsafe working conditions at Chinese owned multimillion lithium mine

See all tags Allegations

‘Indepth - Shocking Deaths, Freak Accidents At Chinese Lithium Mine Expose Unsafe Working Conditions’ 12 June 2023

TWO employees have died in a short space of time due to unsafe working conditions at Arcadia Mine, a Chinese-run multi-million open-pit lithium mining company based in Goromonzi, 38km east of Harare, the capital, NewZimbabwe.com has established. The shocking incidents were unearthed during a three-month investigation by NewZimbabwe.com, which worked in partnership with Information for Development Trust (IDT), a non-profit media outfit supporting in-depth reporting in a project focusing on foreign investments. Arcadia holds one of the biggest hard-rock lithium reserves in the world and is run by Prospect Resources through Prospect Lithium Zimbabwe (PLZ), it's subsidiary. Prospect Resources operates under the China-listed Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt Co Ltd conglomerate that is engaged in research relating to, the development and manufacture of lithium battery materials.

…The Chinese multi-national concern is mother to another subsidiary that has been accused of dealing in "conflict cobalt" in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The subsidiary, Congo DongFang International Mining, was busted by a 2016 joint Amnesty International and African Resources Watch report, "This is What We Die For", for illegal child artisanal labour hire and unsafe operating practices. The cabin in which Madera was sleeping before he was crushed by a truck. One of the victims of the freak accidents at Arcadia Mine is Simbarashe Madera (26), who worked as a rig operator and was crushed to death on May 31 this year. He left behind a three-month-pregnant wife and two children. The death caused a standoff between the mine's management and Madera's family, the local traditional leadership and the area chief, Chikwaka.

…The PLZ spokesperson, Rugare Dobbie, confirmed Haruzivi's death dismissing it as water under the bridge. "You are still on that case of a person who died long back? What's there to write about now?" she asked. Mashonaland East police spokesperson, Simon Chazovachiyi, said the dump truck that killed Madera had apparently moved on its own from where it was parked. "It was not a mine accident. It was an incident in which a truck moved on its own and crushed the cabin he (Madera) was sleeping in," police said. The cabins which workers live in and streams of sewer flowing nearby. Zhongjingfu Ltd, the owners of the truck that killed Madera, promised to put in place, measures that would ensure there was no repeat of such a tragic incident.