At least 237 killed in mine accidents across Zimbabwe


HARARE (Xinhua) — Mine accidents in Zimbabwe killed at least 237 people in 2023, making it one of the worst years in the country's mining history, a senior government official said on Thursday.

Mine accidents in Zimbabwe
A crowd gathers to observe a rescue team carrying the body of a miner after a gold mine shaft collapsed at the Bay Horse mine in Chegutu, Zimbabwe on September 30, 2023. [Image: Jekesai Njikizana/AFP/Getty Images]

Chief Government Mining Engineer Michael Munodawafa told a media briefing that the death toll came from 212 recorded deadly mining accidents, as some go unreported.

Most of the deaths involved unregistered artisanal miners, who often engaged in unsafe mining and were reluctant to follow safety protocols, Munodawafa said.

Last year's deaths are an increase from 139 recorded in 2022 from 121 accidents.

"This figure (237 deaths) is scary. Most of the accidents occurred in unregistered mines, and we have a problem controlling these illegal miners because of a shortage of resources. Out of all the miners in the country, less than 50 percent are registered," Munodawafa said.

He said the unregistered artisanal miners are prone to mining accidents because they lack the skills and technical know-how to practice safe mining and often disregard laws.

He said the year 2024 has also begun on a bad note, with 15 miners nearly killed this month when a shaft collapsed and trapped them for four days at the Redwing gold mine in Mutare, eastern Zimbabwe.

He added that the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development is conducting awareness campaigns, advising miners not to mine during the rainy season and always to observe safety protocols when carrying out mining operations. 

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