SHE issues discussion with ZIMSHEC Executive Director
By Ndanatsiwa Tagwireyi
In Zimbabwe, over 500 000 people are into Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASM) with at least one million people directly benefiting from it as noted in a 2022 paper titled ‘Hazards Control Measures Among Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Miners in Zimbabwe.’ The mentioned statistics indicate how the safety, health and the environment should be prioritized for the benefit of miners and the environment in general. Being cognizant of the inherent safety, health and environmental impacts of the operations of small-scale miners catapulted the formation and launch of the Zimbabwe Mining Safety, Health and Environmental Council (ZIMSHEC) to promote sustainable mining practices and reduce mining work related fatalities. Against this background, the Mining Vision Magazine Editor Ndanatsiwa Tagwireyi had a brief interview with the recently appointed ZIMSHEC Executive Director Makumba Nyenje to touch base on how he will assist on SHE issues in his capacity under the new role. Nyenje was appointed ZIMSHEC Executive Director in January 2022. Below is the brief Question (Q) and (A) interview.
Q. Tell us more about your self
A. Mr Makumba Nyenje is a man in his Mid-40s. I am a full-time miner doing both primary production and custom gold milling in Mberengwa and Zvishavane Districts. I grew up assisting my parents who started small scale mining in the early 90s.
Q. In January 2022, you were appointed as the Executive Director of ZIMSHEC, which was launched in 2021. How do you feel about such an appointment in the face of the state of mining safety, health and the environment in the Midlands Province and Zimbabwe in General?
A. Since my assumption of the position at ZIMSHEC, I felt Challenged and grew the zeal to deliver to the ASM sector in terms of the mining SHE issues. All ASM players in the Southern Region of Zimbabwe and the whole country at large are challenged to formalize their operations as part of efforts to take Mining Safety, Health and Environmental issues seriously. As ZIMSHEC we have a tough task ahead to fulfill dictates of our Motto “Zero harm is Achievable”
Q. How important will ZIMSHEC be in the ASM sector in Zimbabwe and in the Midlands Province where you come from?
A. ZIMSHEC comes in handy to assist miners in the formalization process through observation of safety precautions, adherence to work ethics and health principles as well as observation of sustainable development and good environmental protection practices.
Q. Where do you see the state of safety, health and the environment in the ASM sector in the next 5 years?
A. In the next 5 years, players in the ASM sector should be leading in terms of preaching the gospel of formalizing the sector. By end of 2023, each mining district must be boasting of a well-trained and competent Mining Emergency Rescue team, both surface and underground Rescue team. Training of candidates from the first three districts namely Zvishavane, Gwanda and Bubi will be done before end of this year.
Q. What should small scale miners expect from ZIMSHEC in 2022 and beyond?
ASM players should expect to participate in SHE conferences, training workshops and seminars and other capacity building trainings by experts drawn from tertiary institutions like Zimbabwe School of Mines, Midlands State University and Government statutory boards, genuine certificates and Diplomas will be awarded to successful candidates
A. What is your overall comment with regards to the state of safety and health, and the environment in the Midlands Province?
Zero harm is Achievable