Africa Moyo in HWANGE
GOVERNMENT will continue to support Hwange Colliery Company Limited’s bid to return to profitability, given the role it plays in the country’s economy.
This was said yesterday by the Minister of State for Matabeleland North Province Ambassador Cain Mathema, in a speech read on his behalf by Hwange Colliery Company Limited (HCCL) board chairperson Ms Juliana Muskwe, during the 46th Kamandama disaster celebrations.
Ambassador Mathema said in support of HCCL management efforts to turnaround the company’s fortunes, Government is currently playing its supportive role in inter-ministerial cooperation through provision of basic foodstuffs to employees.
The foodstuffs are being provided through the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare.
“Government also made available foreign currency for the procurement of critical spares and resuscitation of underground mining,” said Ambassador Mathema.
Recently, Government moved in to thaw strained relations between HCCL and the employees’ wives who were demanding that their husbands be paid their salary arrears.
HCCL management have now set in motion plans to mine at least 300 000 tonnes of coal beginning this month, as it seeks to return to profitability.
Underground mining would be central to achieving the monthly target.
Government views the mining sector as critical to economic turnaround given that it contributes 20 percent to GDP.
Last year, the country generated $2,6 billion from mineral exports and the target is to hit $3 billion this year.
Meanwhile, Ambassador Mathema said Government is also committed to supporting women whose husbands perished in the horrendous 1972 Kamandama disaster.
Ambassador Mathema said Government continues to share grief with families of the Kamandama victims, adding that even the harsh economic environment would not result in their abandonment.
“. . . due to the economic challenges the country is facing, we might not be able to meet all the requirements of the widows but be rest assured that we are doing our best to ensure that fundraising are initiated so that we cater for their needs and through working together, we will prevail,” said Ambassador Mathema.
Currently, there are 75 widows of the Kamandama disaster, which struck at 10:25 am on June 6, 1972, claiming 472 miners.
The dead were from Malawi, South Africa, Mozambique, Zambia, Botswana and Zimbabwe.
Ambassador Mathema said the disaster jolted Government to ensure the implementation and monitoring of safety and health policies in the mining sector.
The Mine Rescue Association of Zimbabwe, whose role is to coordinate mine rescue activities, was formed in 1973.