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Zimbabwe: Union says mining sector is not ready to deal with Covid-19 virus leading to panic of mine workers

‘Protect Mine Workers From Coronavirus, Govt Urged’  23 March 2020

Zimbabwe Allied and Diamond Workers Union (ZIDAWU) has appealed to government to upscale safety measures for diamond workers in the wake of confirmed coronavirus (COVID19) in Zimbabwe. The union made the appeal in light of poor living conditions in the two operational diamonds mines Anjin and Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC). In a statement released by secretary general Cosmus Sunguro, ZIDAWU said the mining sector has not prepared itself to handle the virus causing panic and despondency in the ranks of mine workers at Anjin who fear for their safety. Anjin which recently started operations has over 150 employees, while ZCDC employs over a thousand workers, who are ferried to and from work using overloaded buses which poses serious health concerns said ZIDAWU.

… "There is panic and despondency as workers at this Chinese mine quarried how safe were they from this disease, as the country engage the shock gear of bad news, very few have ever bothered to question about the safety of mine workers given the degree of shoddy preparedness in the extractive mining industry. "Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamonds Company (ZCDC) for instance is employing more than 1000 workers which is ten times the numbers effectively banished, the same goes to recently re-opened Anjin employing over 150 workers at its mining site. "Their situation becomes more complicated when one considers that company buses are used to ferry them to and from work, with standing passengers. This poses serious threat to their health given that Corona virus is easily transmitted under those conditions," read part of the statement.

… "Mining activities like drilling, blasting and rigging are known to be main causers of emission of dust during mining. "In addition, adverse environmental conditions such as high temperatures and humidity, changes in atmospheric pressure, poor lighting, excessive noise and poor vibration, poor air quality, ionizing radiation and accumulation of dust and poisonous gases make mining one of the most dangerous occupation," said ZIDAWU. Some of ZIDAWU's recommendations are for miners to provide adequate and proper personal protective clothing, to avail running water to all mining portals, holding of regular awareness campaigns to be conducted by companies and civic society organisations.

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