Friday, September 25, 2020

Jwaneng mine collapses, one feared dead

Botswana’s Jwaneng diamond mine was hit by a collapse of the mine walls in the early hours of Friday, trapping 16 workers. While 15 were rescued not long after the rescue team got to work, the remaining miner was still trapped and is feared dead.

Following the mishap, Jwaneng Mine has suspended its daily production until further notice. A team of investigators has been commissioned to establish the cause of the accident. On the other hand, the mine union says safety at mines is being compromised. Debswana spokesperson, Esther Kanaimba-Senai, confirmed that starting Friday, production at the Jwaneng Mine has been suspended until further notice.

She explained that at around the dawn of Friday morning, about 16 employees were initially trapped in after the access ramp was closed-off by the flowing sand from the collapse of a section of the pit wall.

She stated that soon after the accident, necessary emergency evacuation response was activated to secure the safety of all employees working in the pit at the time.

“All mine and contract employees on site have been accounted for with the exception of one employee,” she said.

Kanaimba-Senai said they believe that the miner who is still missing was alone and could be trapped in the car that he was probably driving when the pit wall collapsed.

She said the rescue team was busy on site to find ways of rescuing the trapped miner and “no effort will be spared to locate the missing employee”, adding that the fifteen men that were rescued during the accident were still hospitalised and receiving counselling even though they did not sustain any injuries.

“I wouldn’t want to rush in to conclusions and to pass judgements but miracles do happen therefore we are hopeful that the missing miner will be found alive,” she said.

The 25-year old open cast mine, located 120 kilometers west of the capital city Gaborone, employs over 2000 people. The mine was currently operating at a depth over 300 meters and expected to reach 624 metres by 2017.This is the second diamond mine accident in Botswana this month.

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