Mine death in Zim

The Star Early Edition - - COMPANIES - Tawanda Karombo

AN “AVOID­ABLE” un­der­ground in­ci­dent at Im­pala Platinum and Sibanye Re­sources’ joint ven­ture platinum mine in Zim­babwe has claimed one life, prompt­ing man­age­ment at the op­er­a­tion to launch an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the ac­ci­dent.

In 2015 and 2016, Mi­mosa mine recorded two un­der­ground fa­tal­i­ties and Busi­ness Re­port un­der­stands that the mine has been “asked” by the govern­ment to tighten safety mea­sures at the mine.

Fa­tal­i­ties at large min­ing op­er­a­tions in Zim­babwe, which are highly mech­a­nised, are rare, but Mi­mosa’s tally of mine deaths has started to worry au­thor­i­ties. Zim­babwe’s mines are also shal­lower com­pared to South African op­er­a­tions.

A man­ager at the Shu­rugwi based Mi­mosa mine said last week that the lat­est fa­tal in­ci­dent at Mi­mosa had sud­denly hap­pened, but could have been avoided. “The op­er­a­tor was trapped by the drill rig and he was fa­tally injured. It was a sad ex­pe­ri­ence, but owing to our safety mea­sures and pro­to­cols it could have been avoided,” said the man­ager.

Of­fi­cials from Im­plats and Sibanye Re­sources have con­firmed the in­ci­dent.

“We can dis­close that one of our drill rig op­er­a­tors were fa­tally injured whilst op­er­at­ing his drilling ma­chine un­der­ground. The mine has com­mis­sioned a full in­ves­ti­ga­tion to ex­am­ine all as­pects of the in­ci­dent and ex­plore po­ten­tial re­me­dial ac­tions that could ma­te­ri­ally ame­lio­rate iden­ti­fied safety risks in the fu­ture as far as pos­si­ble,” said Jo­han Theron, spokesper­son for Im­plats.

The in­ci­dent hap­pened on the south part of the min­ing op­er­a­tion, sources said, em­pha­sis­ing that the in­ci­dent could have “vir­tu­ally been avoid­able”. Busi­ness Re­port has been told by other un­der­ground mine work­ers at Mi­mosa that the drill rig ma­chine “trapped a mut­ton cloth wrapped around the op­er­a­tor’s waist belt and sub­se­quently injured him fa­tally” as he could not es­cape.

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