Mining experts speak on safety during the rainy season

By Tafara Chikumira

Mining experts have implored miners to consider safety first when conducting their operations during the rainy season to avoid loss of life.

The rain season is usually associated with an increase in fatalities within the mining sector with most mines collapsing due to lack of proper supporting structures.

Experts believe a solid foundation and proper procedures supervised by professionals are key ingredients to minimising accidents during the rainy season.

noted: “Miners need to understand is that the ground becomes shaky during the rainy season. In the previous season we have received floods and the same might also happen during this season. As such it become mandatory for miners to come up with supporting pillars for their mines particularly those miners who practice underground mining operations,” noted mining consultant, Engineer Pius Ndala.

“These have to be up to standard. We have also witnessed a disturbing situation where illegal miners occupy abandoned mines and target pillars as they might be rich in gold. Such practices are akin to committing suicide and must be avoided.”

Environmental Impact Assessments have also been cited as key for any mining establishment.

Joshua Manyumbu, an environmentalist, said: “People need to have an appreciation on the need for environmental impact assessment. What is sad is that most of the mining accidents are avoidable as long as the laid down procedures are followed. There are areas that are not suitable for mining even if they might have some fertile alluvial.

“There are also areas that need some serious touch ups like creation of proper drainage before any mining operations can commence. There is also the aspect of dewatering the mining holes which is necessary and all these require proper mining management.”

The Environmental Management Agency (EMA) has in the past engaged in running battles with artisanal miners over lack of Environmental Impact Assessment certificates, a key legal document for any mining operations.