By DERRICK SILIMINA
By the close of June, the mining industry recorded 12 deaths and 14 dangerous accidents, according to the Ministry of Mines.
Mines and Minerals Development Minister Paul Kabuswe, in a speech read on his behalf by Permanent Secretary Hapenga Kabeta at the 16th Intercompany Mining First-Aid Competition in Kalumbila District, said the increased number of accidents compared to the same period in 2022 was of great concern to Government.
He urged all stakeholders and mine operators to ensure that workers are guaranteed a safe work environment. Management and responsible officers at all sites must ensure that mine safety regulations are complied with at all times without fail.
The Mines Minister further stressed that the mining industry, through the chamber, should lead the way and inspire confidence among the workforce and their families that mining can be done safely. And with advancements in technology, mining should become a more attractive and safer business than ever before.
“I have been delighted by the exemplary show of first aid skills by teams and individual participants. Let us all recognize that a safe and healthy workplace will create healthy workers, increase productivity, contribute towards sustainable development and create a positive image for the mining industry. I wish to remind you, like I did during last year’s competition, that occupational health and safety is not negotiable! We all have a responsibility to guarantee the safety and health of our workforce,” Kabuswe said.
Kabuswe has since commended FQM Trident Mining Limited, for hosting the inter-company mining first aid competition and contractor firms for participating in this year’s event. The theme this year was Learn First Aid, You Never Know When You Need It.
Speaking at the same event, Chamber of Mines President Godwin Beene noted that the mining accidents report of 2022 and 2023 indicated that most of the fatalities occurred in mining operations that are not affiliated with the Chamber of Mines.
Dr Beene, who is also FQM Country Manager, urged the Ministry of Mines to see how the affected mining companies should be engaged with to join the Chamber of Mines to benefit from programmes designed by the Council for First-aid, the Zambia Mining Rescue and the Safety, Health and Environment Committee.
The programmes promoted best international practices in occupational health, safety and environment.
The 16th edition of the 2023 Intercompany Mining First-Aid Competition consisted of 20-plus participating teams from FQM Trident Ltd, Chambishi Copper Smelter, and FQM Kansanshi Mining. Others were Konkola Copper Mines Plc, Lubambe Copper Mines Plc, and Mopani Copper Mines among others.
Lubambe Copper Mine Support services team bagged the first position having scored 76.93 per cent. The 2nd slot went to the KCM Geology team who scored 75.75 per cent. Mopani Copper Mine’s Nkana security team took third position and walked away with 75 per cent while KCM Nchanga Mine’s underground team landed fourth place and collected 74.17 per cent.
Other participants such as Kansanshi Mine’s Team D grabbed the seventh slot by scoring 70.67 per cent. The FQM Trident Engineering team came out in 11th position with 65.5 per cent. Barrick Mine took 12th position with 64.75 per cent and the FQM Trident Quattro team got the 13th slot with a 62.92 per cent score.
Lubambe Copper Mine General Manager Support Services Daniel Chihili expressed joy after his team’s exemplary performance.
“This is exciting especially that the team that has won is under my department. From the time that I have been associated with emergency response teams, the last four years have been very exciting because we have performed with very strong teams that have been able to demonstrate that in case of any unforeseen eventualities, we have men and women able to rise to the occasion and protect the injured, secure property and get back to operations.”