Mine accident: Zimplats bungled

Zimplats CEO Alex Mhembere

Australian Stock Exchange listed miner, Zimplats, did not act on recommendations from experts that could have averted a high wall collapse which killed one worker, an internal report has shown.

The platinum producer, which operates in the Ngezi area, recorded a fatal accident on February 14 when cherry picker operator Kudzanai

Manyonganise was trapped by falling rock fragments at Ngwarati Mine.

Manyonganise was an employee of Eazi Access, a contractor company at the mine, and was retrieving equipment at the time of the accident.

But an internal report showed that concerns had been raised on the safety of the mine but no action was taken.

“Water was noticed flowing from a crack that had developed on the NW flank of the box cut on 8 February 2021.

On 10 February rock mechanics

recommended among others repair work on the shortcrete after inspections.

On the day of the accident, no support work was planned,” the internal report said.

According to the report, the worker was in the process of removing a telescopic boom lift (Cherry Picker) from the portal box-cut assisted by another operator Torrence Dzerumbaira who managed to escape unhurt.

“Of the 6 employees who were in the vicinity (including 4 Glenrise employees), 5 escaped into the portal declines while the deceased was trapped by the falling rock fragments as he tried to escape up the ramp,” the report said.

Repeated efforts to get comment from Zimplats were unsuccessful.

Zimplats CEO Alex Mhembere’s number went unanswered while questions

send to his email had not been responded to by the time of

going to press.

In a notice filed with ASX, the white metal producer said a full investigation into the incident was currently underway and the “Zimplats board of directors and management team remain committed to ensuring a safe

working environment at all its operations”.

The miner has been working round the clock to ensure the safety of its employees. In the third quarter to December 31, Zimplats said there was no

lost-time injuries recorded.

The white metal producer attained 3.3m fatality free shifts in the quarter.