2 miners suffocate in shaft
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