Battlefields mine disaster wake-up call

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

THE Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) is ramping up efforts to prevent further mining disasters similar to the one that recently rocked Battlefields Mine in the Midlands province.

ZMF president Henrietta Rushwaya said the miners group was rebranding in the wake of the disaster to ensure that it covers artisanal miners in their safety training, equipment and tools procurement as a way to improve production and safety.

“Our membership was drawn from registered miners and it left out artisanal miners who we have noticed are affected most and are always left out in government programmes to empower miners through buying of machinery and equipment, so we are now including that community,” she said.

ZMF will now be called the Zimbabwe Artisanal and Small-Scale Miners Federation (ZASSMF), in what Rushwaya said was a rebranding move.

In a statement, ZMF said the move would ensure that all small-scale miners are able to access help from ZASSMF to benefit from government’s efforts.

“The rebranding is ahead of our vision 2030 which will accommodate artisanal miners and help in formalising artisanal mining sector. In the face of massive land degradations, we hope to account for all mining activities in the country and curb the degradation,” the statement read.

Artisanal miners have become the major source of gold deliveries to Fidelity Printers and Refiners, accounting for 21 tonnes last year with big miners only delivering 11 tonnes.

They often work with no protective clothing in dangerous mining environments and most have remained unaccounted for, particularly when disaster strikes.

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