Mash West Bureau
Small-scale and artisanal miners need machinery to increase their efficiencies and minimise accidents caused by poor practices.
Zimbabwe Miners' Federation (ZMF) president, Ms Henrietta Rushwaya, said poor mining skills have not only led to the loss of life and injuries but also affected gold production.
She was speaking to Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando, at Task Mine Syndicate in Chegutu where efforts are underway to rescue five workers trapped underground after the collapse of a shaft last Tuesday.
"As the Zimbabwe Mining Federation, we are quite saddened with the recurrence of accidents, especially involving small-scale miners and we are appealing all our members to practice safe mining," she said.
She said some of the equipment required by the youths are headgears, excavators and dump trucks.
"What the Government has done through the John Deere exercise (in agriculture) should also be replicated in the mining sector. The sector is made up of upcoming youths in their prime whom we look up to help the transform the mining sector into a US$12 billion industry, which will help to drive President Mnangagwa's Vision 2030 of transforming Zimbabwe into a middle upper-income economy."
She urged small-scale miners to exercise extreme caution whenever they are working.
Mines and Mining Development Deputy Minister Polite Kambamura said the recurrence of accidents involving small-scale and artisanal miners was not a result of lack of machinery and equipment, but poor mining standards.
"It is not necessary the case that the lack of equipment is responsible for mining accidents but some of them are due to poor mining standards. Small-scale and artisanal miners are operating without following laid standards that ensure workers are safe.
"Testing of gases, dewatering, unsupported mine structures among other gaps, have prevailed in the small scale mining sector and these, have caused many accidents. Even if the Government is to support the sector with machinery, we will continue to have accidents if miners fail to observe proper mining standards," he said.