2 min­ers suf­fo­cate in shaft

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Whins­ley Masara

TWO mine work­ers died af­ter al­legedly in­hal­ing a poi­sonous gas while work­ing in a shaft at a mine along the bound­aries of Nkayi and Bubi Dis­trict.

David Ncube (34) of Gwit­shi Vil­lage in Nkayi un­der Chief Nkalakatha and Per­son­nel Chi­wen­dera (36) whose place of ori­gin could not be im­me­di­ately es­tab­lished suf­fo­cated from hy­dro­gen sul­phide gas while they were work­ing in the shaft at Ken­nel­worth Reals Tree Mine.

The in­ci­dent oc­curred at around 6PM on Thurs­day and the bod­ies were re­trieved yes­ter­day morn­ing.

A source said the mine, which is legally reg­is­tered, is poorly ven­ti­lated, ex­pos­ing em­ploy­ees to poi­sonous gases.

“The two men were work­ing at a point which is 18 me­tres deep and the level above them is the one which is highly con­cen­trated with this dan­ger­ous gas.

“The shaft has a shal­low pool of wa­ter in­side which could be the source of the gas, but it’s the first time to ex­pe­ri­ence deaths of such na­ture,” said the source.

He said one of the min­ers sig­nalled to the other that he was strug­gling to breathe.

“The sec­ond miner asked to be low­ered into the shaft to pull out his col­league.

“Well, maybe the amount of gas was too much then be­cause he too be­gan to choke and suf­fo­cated re­sult­ing in both of them dy­ing,” the source said.

A mine em­ployee, who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity, said work­ers hoped their em­ployer would im­prove work­ing con­di­tions fol­low­ing the tragedy.

“To avert a rep­e­ti­tion of such an in­ci­dent, the ven­ti­la­tion sys­tem for the mine needs to be im­proved. Good work­ing con­di­tions should be main­tained for our safety.

“It’s sad we have lost our col­leagues who were per­ma­nent em­ploy­ees at the mine due to con­di­tions which can be im­proved,” said the em­ployee.

Nkayi Dis­trict Ad­min­is­tra­tor Mr Mand­la­makhulu Moyo said the mine should im­prove its stan­dards for the safety of em­ploy­ees.

“In­ten­si­fi­ca­tion of in­spec­tions in all mine ar­eas should be a num­ber one pri­or­ity at all mines for the safety of work­ers. Now that we are ap­proach­ing the rainy sea­son, a lot of main­te­nance needs to be done in many mines.

“I ad­vise all mine own­ers to en­sure that they have their mines thor­oughly in­spected, fixed and main­tained more fre­quently. Dis­used mines should be com­pletely sealed to in­di­cate they are shut down so that min­ers don’t at­tempt to en­ter as they could be dan­ger­ous”, he said.

Na­tional po­lice spokesper­son Chief Su­per­in­ten­dent Paul Ny­athi con­firmed the death of the two min­ers through suf­fo­ca­tion.

He urged mem­bers of the pub­lic to de­sist from min­ing in un­se­cured shafts that ex­pose them to dan­ger. — @win­nie_­masara

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