By own correspondent
The Deputy Minister of Mines, Honorable Polite Kambamura recently visited Pickstone Mine to evaluate the progress of its transition to underground mining operations. During the visit, the deputy minister emphasized the importance of addressing safety concerns in the mining industry, which is known for its inherent risks and hazards.
Mining is a high-risk industry, with potential hazards such as cave-ins, explosions, and exposure to harmful substances. The deputy minister recognizes the need to prioritize safety in order to protect the lives and well-being of miners. By addressing safety concerns, the industry can not only prevent accidents but also enhance productivity and attract investment.
Honorable Kambamura has identified several key challenges related to safety in the mining industry. Limited access to capital and technology poses a significant hurdle for miners, as they struggle to invest in safety equipment and training programs. High operating costs, including labor, and transportation, further strain their ability to prioritize safety.
To overcome the challenge of limited access to capital, the ministry is exploring various avenues, including grants, loans, and financing options. By providing financial support, miners can invest in state-of-the-art safety equipment and training programs to protect their workforce. Furthermore, efforts are underway to make technology more accessible through training programs and partnerships with technology providers, enabling miners to leverage innovative solutions for safer operations.
The deputy minister said as the ministry they are committed to improving safety standards and ensuring legal protection for miners. This involves enhancing regulations and guidelines that prioritize the well-being of workers, including stringent safety protocols and regular inspections. In addition, the ministry is working to strengthen legal protections for miners, ensuring their rights are safeguarded and they are not subjected to exploitation. This includes measures such as enforcing fair labor practices, addressing issues of worker compensation, and providing avenues for miners to report safety concerns without fear of retaliation.
Unreliable electricity supply is a significant challenge for mining operations, as it can disrupt critical safety systems and compromise the well-being of workers. Honorable Kambamura recognizes the importance of a stable power supply and is actively collaborating with relevant stakeholders to improve the availability and reliability of electricity for mining activities. This includes exploring alternative energy sources, investing in infrastructure upgrades, and implementing measures to mitigate power outages.
“Safety of miners is one of our top concerns. We are addressing issues such as lack of access to capital and technology, high operating costs, lack of legal protection, and unreliable electricity supply,” he said
Beyond addressing specific challenges, the ministry aims to foster a safety culture within the mining industry. This involves raising awareness among miners about the importance of adhering to safety protocols and providing comprehensive training programs to equip them with the necessary skills and knowledge. By instilling a safety-first mindset, the ministry aims to create a working environment where safety is ingrained in every aspect of mining operations.
The deputy minister’s visit to Pickstone Mine highlights the government’s commitment to addressing safety concerns in the mining industry. By prioritizing the well-being of miners and implementing measures to mitigate risks, the deputy minister and the ministry are working towards creating a safe and sustainable mining sector. Through initiatives such as providing access to capital and technology, improving safety standards, and ensuring legal protection, the industry can thrive while safeguarding the lives and welfare of its workforce. The deputy minister’s focus on safety underscores the government’s commitment to sustainable and responsible mining practices in Zimbabwe.