237 miners died from accidents in Zimbabwe mines 2023 – official

Year described as one of the worst in recent years

By Caleb Chikwawawa

At least 237 people died from mine related accidents in the country in 2023 with the mines ministry describing the year as one of the worst in recent years in terms of fatalities in the extractive sector.

Speaking at a Civil Protection Committee meeting in Harare recently, Chief Government Mining Engineer, Michael Munodawafa lamented the tragic incidents.

“2023, I can say is one of the worst years in our mining industry in terms of fatalities,” he said.

“According to our statistics, we closed the year 2023 with so many people who lost their lives due to mining activities. We have 237 fatalities out of 212 reported fatalities.

“Some of them go unreported; we only hear about them some weeks or months later that someone has died in that mine and they just pull the person out and manage to bury them.

“Normally, some of our unregistered mines only report when they have failed to do it on their own, but if they can do it on their own, if they can manage to get away from us as Ministry of Mines or from ZRP, we will never hear of that accident.

“What is reported here is not the exact figure of what was experienced in the year, and that figure is scary.”

Munodawafa said unregistered miners are more prone to the accidents as they lack the technical knowledge to undertake the activity safely.

“Most of the accidents are caused because some of these miners are not registered, they don’t know where to get help, they don’t have the technical knowhow of how to mine safely.

“So, they just mine anyhow. Whether the place is dangerous or not, they just get in without worrying about their safety.”

The top official said in some cases, accidents are caused by some illegal miners who simply disregard the laws and “just mine as they wish”.

He cited the September incident in which 13 miners were killed in Chegutu’s Bayhorse Mine as a case in point where safety measures were not considered.

Munodawafa said measures were being in place to making mining a safe space to work in.

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