27 August 2014

Zambia: Uphold Safety Rules, Yaluma Tells Mines

GOVERNMENT has implored mining industries to adhere to safety measures and provide a safe working environment for employees.

Mines, Energy and Water Development Minister Christopher Yaluma said it was important to adhere to safety measures that would not expose others to unfortunate situations.

Mr Yaluma was speaking in a speech read for him by his deputy Richard Musukwa at the unveiling of the refurbished Kafironda Memorial monument at African Explosives Limited (AEL) mining services in Mufulira.

The event was commemorated in memory of 21 Kafironda factory workers, two Zambia Railways employees and two other people from a nearby township who died on December 14 1971 following an accidental detonation of explosives at the site in Mufulira.

He said at the time of the accident, the factory was manufacturing nitroglycerine based explosives which were not as stable as the current emulsion based explosives being used.

"While it makes me sad to remember this incident which happened 43 years ago, it gives me a warm feeling to find that there is a remnant of people in our midst who remember to honour those who lost their lives in the incident that happened here.

"Further, it is important to honour those who came ahead of us in the explosives industry because without them, we would not have developed to where we are now, every development has got some background history and hardship," he said.

Mr Yaluma said it was encouraging that up to the end of July 2014, the current operations of AEL mining services had clocked in excess of 2, 500,000 man hours without any lost time incident.

He further urged AEL management to continue working closely with workers to better their conditions of service to ensure production in a safe working environment.

AEL Zambia Board chairperson Jordan Soko said the event was a commemoration of the landmark year for the country's jubilee celebration and a time to reflect on the experiences that had been recorded in the last 50 years.

Mr Soko said the company had made advancements to improve inherent safety and quality features in the manufacturing process of explosives.

He said AEL Mining services has developed cutting edge technology by investing significantly in research and development to produce safe quality and environmental friendly explosives products using state-of-the-art formulations and stable raw materials.

"We are committed to improving and maintaining high standards of safety, health, environment and quality in all our operations aimed at the elimination of accidents and assuring zero harm to all," he said.

Mufulira Mayor Thomson Ngulube commended AEL Zambia for ensuring that there were no other incidents with explosives in the last 43 years.

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