By Alois Vinga
THE Mines Ministry has tabled plans to roll out education training programs for Artisanal Small Scale Miners (ASM) in a bid to improve safety in mining operations.
This follows a series of fatal accidents which have dogged the sector over the years due to poor working methods which are often highly precarious.
Speaking on the latest developments Wednesday, Mines and Mining Development Minister, Soda Zhemu said despite misinterpretation of his announcement enforcing the closure of operations at all ASM Mines earlier this year, his Ministry remains committed to assisting the sector.
“The Ministry of Mines and Mining Development did not ban small-scale mining activities as it is being presented in the media. We issued a precautionary statement with the sole purpose of saving lives considering the rainy season which is upon us and which we are all aware of the hazards that come with the rains in our mining sector,” he said.
To this end, he said the Mines Ministry will continue to capacitate small-scale miners through safety and health awareness and training programs across the eight mining provinces.
The Department of Mining Engineering has already availed the safety and health awareness and training schedule which will commence on the 5th of February in Mashonaland West and Matabeleland South.
Other teams will be dispatched across the country’s provinces from February 12 to March 1 2024.
The awareness campaigns will also cover issues to do with the formalisation of mining operations, with a focus on unregistered miners who are expected to formally register their mines and will encourage miners to join associations of their choice for purposes of networking and knowledge sharing.
“In addition to capacitation for small-scale miners, very soon, equipment will be available through the Mining Industry Loan Fund in the various Provincial Mines Workshops,” added Zhemu.