MINERS have called on government to establish rescue teams that would be on standby in each province in cases of mine related disasters which continue to claim many lives.
This comes in the wake of the death of dozens of artisanal miners in two disused Kadoma mines a week ago.
Following the tragedy, miners have called on authorities to both regularise and capacitate operators within the hazardous but lucrative extractive sector.
Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) spokesperson Dosman Mangisi Monday told the media that government should capacitate artisanal miners whose operations were key to economic growth.
“With the growing of the small scale mining sector, there is need for government to capacitate the sector with proper mechanisation and equipment.
“Also of importance is having rescue teams in each province meant for the sector. Institutions of mining must roll out rescue exercise,” Mangisi said.
There are an estimated 500 000 informal miners across the country.
Disaster struck last Tuesday night when an estimated 70 artisanal miners who had entered interlinked mine shafts at Silver Moon and Cricket gold mines in the area were trapped inside by floods following heavy rains that had pounded the Mashonaland West area.
Subsequent rescue operations weekend saw eight pulled alive while 24 bodies were brought to the surface through combined efforts by mining firms, the Central Protection Unit and artisanal miners.
Zimbabwe Diamond and Allied Minerals Workers Union secretary general, Justice Chinhema said there was also need for a national inspection of mines to avoid continued loss of life.
“It’s very sad for people to lose lives in such a tragic manner at Battlefields. It is sad that the same people who are contributing to the fiscus and livelihoods are dying underground.
“It’s a matter we have raised with the government for a very long time that our mines are not secure.
“We have always said that there is need for a national inspection which includes NSSA, EMA and workers representatives to find out if the mines are conducive,” Chinhema said.
Government has since declared the tragedy a national disaster.
Source : New Zimbabwe