By JOHN CHOLA
Lubambe Copper Mine (LCM) is the ultimate winner of the 2021 National Mines Rescue Team Competition held at Victoria Falls Power Station in Livingstone from September 15 to 17.
The Chililabombwe-based outfit emerged tops among five other participating teams who included Mabiza Mine, Mopani Nkana, Lunashya Copper Mine, Mopani Mufulira and NFCA.
The final tabulation of results by a team of six adjudicators led by Tumelo Pablo Kgafela of Botswana shows that Lubambe garnered a total of 554.6 marks and walked away with 18 out of 20 awards at the tightly contested competition.
Lubambe outshone all other participating mines to become best firefighting team, best team in rescue operations, best team in first aid operations, best team in theory tests, best team in field events and best team in relay race with BG4.
Mopani Mufulira took second position with 502 marks while Luanshya Copper Mine settled for third position with 481.8 marks.
The awards reflect activities in which the teams were tested.
Speaking at the Award Presentation Ceremony on Friday evening, Zambia Mine Rescue Association President Maron Choongo commended mine rescue teams in Zambia for their dedication and commitment to save lives and property in cases of emergency.
Choongo noted that Mine Rescue in Zambia had evolved and improved over the years and as at now, rescue teams across the country were now better trained, more equipped and well-positioned to deal with any emergency situation.
“There is no doubt that mines rescue teams are adding a lot of value to the operations of our mines in Zambia. When lives and assets are in danger, it is the Mines Rescue Teams that step up and rise to the challenges of saving lives and property,” Choongo said.
Since mining was a hazardous business, that there was no telling when calamity would strike, hence the need for rescue teams to be physically and mentally prepared for eventualities all the time.
And Zambia Chamber of Mines Deputy Chief Executive Officer Talent Ng’andwe commended all participating teams for their commitment to mine rescue.
Ngandwe pointed out that the mining industry presented unique challenges to safety which required mine rescue teams to be well-trained and prepared. Mine accidents had huge implications on mine operations and human life.
Minimizing of accidents in the mining industry was pivotal for sustained productivity of the sector, and the availability of mine rescue skilled personnel enhanced safety.
A combination of safety practices and skills was highly demanded for improved protection of mining infrastructure, equipment and also human resources.
The Zambia Chamber of Mines, under whose ambit the Zambia Mine Rescue Association falls, has signed a tripartite agreement with the Technical Education Vocation and Entrepreneurship Training Authority (TEVETA) and Mopani Central Training Center (MCTC) to upskill rescue miners in different mines in the country.
“The Training Agreement worth K2 million will benefit 180 miners at Lubambe, Mopani, First Quantum Minerals, CNMC Luanshya Copper Mine, NFCA and other mines. The contract will focus on critical skills required for efficient operation of the mining industry,” said Ngandwe.
He further noted that the employee upskilling programme was aimed at ensuring that TEVET meets the skills requirement of the Zambian economy, efficiently and sustainability.