The Sunday News
MINING companies and small-scale operators have been called upon to have fully equipped and well-resourced mine rescue teams to avoid production losses and other related financial litigations that arise in the event of accidents at workplaces.This call was made by the Mine Rescue Association of Zimbabwe (MRAZ) national trainer, Mr Nathan Ncube, at the Mining Rescue national finals held at Hwange Colliery Company’s 3 Main Underground Mine on Friday last week.
The competition was won by How Mine who competed under the west category garnering 1 164 points.
“The industry is associated with some risks especially underground hence all fully fledged mining entities and those small-scale ones are urged to make efforts to have vibrant mine rescue teams at their workplaces.
Lack of priority towards such activities by any company in the mining sector will result in such firms suffering losses in production through lost shifts or even lives and a host of other financial litigations which include insurance claims in the unfortunate event of accidents at workplaces.
“As an association, we are more than happy that the Government, through the relevant line ministry is pushing for legislation to ensure that it will be mandatory for all mining companies to have mine rescue teams in place,” said Mr Ncube in his speech at the prize giving ceremony.
Zimplats (central zone) were in second place with 1 145 points and were also awarded for being the Most Improved team.
North zone based Fredda Rebecca Mine claimed third slot with Mimosa Mining Company (south zone) coming fourth.
In his welcome remarks, the Acting HCCL general manager (operations), Mr Ackim Mutiti said the coal mining giant fully appreciated the need for companies to have rescue teams on standby at any given time.
“The Colliery will never hesitate to invest in its emergency preparedness as this is never a cost when done well. The benefits of a well-crafted plan will minimise losses that could emanate from unforeseen circumstances.
Although I appreciate that a lot of work is being done by mine managers in nurturing hazard identification and risk assessment in all activities in the mining processes, this will never eliminate the importance of having emergency rescue teams at individual mines,” he said.
Other mining companies forming the Mine Rescue Association of Zimbabwe are Bindura and Redwing (North); Unki, Zimasco and Zimplats (Central); Gaths Mine and Renco Mine (Southern) and Hwange Colliery Company (West).
According to a report from MRAZ, the main purposes for the creation of mine rescue teams includes saving lives, equipment and resuscitation of the affected mining operations.
The Colliery is on record as being the first mining company to establish the mine rescue unit just after the Kamandama Mine Disaster in 1972 where 427 miners perished underground on 6 June.