Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Debswana improves systems to avert another Jwaneng disaster

Debswana, the rough diamond producer, says its stability management programme has been reinforced by acquiring additional slope monitoring systems and other devices that it did not have before in response to a disaster at Jwaneng mine in 2012.

The company owned 50/50 by Botswana government and De Beers pointed out that the increase in the number┬áand type of devices employed in the slope stability management programmes have improved the company’s detection of and readiness to respond to failures.

Debswana Group Mining Manager, Lenayang Dimbungu, said on Monday they have learnt from the past and are able to further improve these processes and better employ the devices to create a safer environment.

He pointed out that their systems and people continue to monitor and manage slope failures diligently to avert any casualties adding that notably, the company have also empowered more of its employees to take life-saving decisions in relation to their areas of work.

Dimbungu pointed out that the slope failure that occurred in Jwaneng in June 2012 is a similar failure which occurred in October 2013. He revealed that the latter was predicted ahead of time and the mine managed to ensure there were no injuries to employees, no damage to equipment and no disruption to production.

“Subsequent to the 2012 slope failure, management launched a number of interventions to improve the management of slope failures,” revealed Dimbungu. Debswana’s Legal Advisor Ndiye Letsholathebe clarified issues with regard to its engagement with the family of Motshwari Raseiteo who passed away during the June 2012 slope failure.┬á┬á

“In fact the late Mr Raseiteo’s children still reside in the same Jwaneng Mine house; they lived in with their father before he met his untimely death. The school going child is still enrolled at Acacia Primary School. The family also continues to get subsistence allowances from the Debswana Pension Fund on a monthly basis to cater for their living expenses,” said Letsholathebe.

He also pointed out that following the agreement reached with them in late December 2013, the family advised that following the receipt of legal advice, they accepted the staff insurance benefits which have subsequently been paid out to them.
“Arrangements are now being made to relocate the family to their home in Bray,” he said.

Letsholathebe stated that after the incident in June 2012, employees working directly in the area were suspended, without any fault, whilst investigations were being carried out. He added that as is procedure, disciplinary hearings were held where appropriate under the circumstances and the processes have been concluded.  He pointed out that none of these employees was charged with having been responsible for the accident.

“Slope failures are a natural occurrence in open cast mining operations and to mitigate this, Debswana has robust slope management programmes which involve complex slope monitoring devices and processes aimed at ensuring the safety of employees,” he said.


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