By Nita Karume :
Konkola Copper Mines in Zambia has launched a safety campaign in a bid to curb mine accidents and fatalities. This is with a purpose to raise safety standards within the company’s copper operations in Zambia.
The campaign, dubbed Safety Stand Down, was launched earlier on this month by Vedanta Africa Base Metals and Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) CEO Deshnee Naidoo. According to media reports, the launch of the campaign follows the recent Safe 400+ tonnes daily production focus. The daily production focus was initiated by KCM as a springboard to raise production to 12 500 tpm.
Furthermore, it recognizes the impact of mine accidents in the workplace. This is not only to the families of the deceased but also the economy. It is a renewal of management and employees’ commitment to safe working practices as well.
Naidoo reiterated that she would rather production is paused if there was a threat to the safety of employees than continue mining in unsafe environments. She further called out instances of multiple fatalities across KCM in the last six years, calling it unacceptable. Naidoo said that these could have been easily prevented.
The objectives of the new safety initiative include prevention of fatalities and injuries, as well as damage to equipment and property. Moreover, leaders from unions representing the employees will take charge of the oversight in the implementation of the campaign.
Other officials present at the launch spoke in line with the CEOs sentiments. James Mwabu, for instance, as the senior inspector of machinery at the Mine Safety Department (MSD), urged both the KCM management and employees not to slacken in pursuing the safety objectives.
Similarly, the General Treasurer of the National Union of Miners and Allied Workers (NUMAW), Saul Simujika, speaking on behalf of the Mineworkers Union of Zambia (MUZ) and the United Mineworkers Union of Zambia (UMUZ) pledged the unions’ support to the initiative.