Mine workers have blamed authorities at Silobela-based Jena Mines of negligence on the safety of workers after a miner last week succumbed to suspected suffocation from carbon dioxide.

In a statement, the Zimbabwe Diamond and Allied Minerals Workers Union (ZDAMWU) said the late Godfrey Ganagana died after he allegedly inhaled dangerous gas emissions whilst conducting inspections underground.

Following the tragic demise of Ganagana, ZDAMWU called upon the company to institute an independent investigation by inspectors from the National Social Security Authority and officials from the trade unions to ascertain the cause of his death.

“The Zimbabwe Diamond and Allied Minerals Workers Union (ZDAMWU) has learnt with sadness the death of Godfrey Ganagana at Jena Mines. He died in a suspected case of suffocation after inhaling dangerous gas emissions whilst conducting inspections underground,” partly reads the statement penned by ZDAMWU General Secretary Justice Chinhema.

On the fateful day, the deceased Ganagana employed as a gang leader, had reportedly gone to inspect the safety of his passage for his colleagues following a mining blast on September 3, 2020 at the Zimbabwe Mining Development Company (ZMDC)-run mine’s N15 Section.

When tragedy struck, Ganagana was at level 210 metres from the ground.

According to Chinhema, the late Jena Mine worker died from carbon monoxide ‘after he entered a zone with broken pipes containing compressed air and water further, exposing him to seriuos occupational hazards’.

The ZDAMWU boss said Ganagana’s death is blamable on the mine bosses’ negligence of workers’ safety as the the late ‘innocent’ employee was forced to perform a task without the required gas monitoring devices used to detect the presence of dangerous gas emissions in the underground mine shafts.

“This negligence on the part of the employer for failing to provide such life saving equipment amounts to committing constructive murder and the mine authorities should be held accountable for the death of this innocent worker who have left behind two children,” said Chinhema.

He also took a swipe at employers for clandestinely treating the safety of workers’ as largely secondary to the accumulation of profits.

Since the beggining of the year, over 10 workers have succumbed to occupational accidents in both conventional and artisinal miners across the country.

Despite this, ZDAMWU expressed worries that ‘nothing meaningful is being done by relevant authorities to address these callous acts which (have) not only taken away innocent lives but has robbed families of their bread winners’.

Struggling Jena Mines has been in the news for all the wrong reasons, including non-payment of workers’ salaries.

midlands observer
Additional Reporting: Zwnews