About three senior members of staff at Jwaneng Mine have been suspended following the recent fatal collapse of a wall at the mine.
“Towards the end of last week, three employees were suspended on full pay pending further investigations,” said Ester Kanaimba-Sanai, the Group Public and Corporate Affairs Manager of Debswana Diamond Company.
She added that the three employees were directly working in the area that is under investigation and will remain on full pay during their suspension period until the investigation is completed.
Kanaimba-Sanai, however, withheld the names of the suspended employees but stated that Jwaneng Mine’s plants resumed production last week and are processing ore from stockpiles while the pit remains closed following the incident in which Motshwari Raseiteo lost his life.
She would not say how much the company lost due to the short closure.
The chairman of the Botswana Mine Workers Union, Jack Tlhagale, said they are aware of the suspension at the mine and will give more information as soon as their investigations are completed, which is expected any day now.
Meanwhile, the mine continues to collapse. Just a few weeks after the first mine collapsed, another slope failure hit Jwaneng Mine again, sparking further doubts about the safety of the mine.
Information passed to the Sunday Standard revealed that another collapse was recorded on Wednesday near where the first collapse occurred but fortunately no injuries were recorded as the area is still closed.
There are murmurs that the three supervisors are under suspension are been used as a cover up by the mine.
“The mine suspended the wrong people,” said a miner who refused to be named. “Those who are fully aware of what is happening have been left out.”
However, Kanaimba-Sanai denied to the Sunday Standard on Friday evening allegations that that there had been another collapse of the slope.
“We shut down and stopped production from the pit for three weeks in order to ensure that an extensive technical investigation took place and all necessary measures are taken before resumption of business,” she said. “We have looked at technical systems, design parameters for the mining ÔÇô including blasting techniques, and management practices, to drive to Zero Harm”.
She added: “It is critical that everyone is reassured that an incident like this doesn’t occur again, and that people feel comfortable going back into the mine.”
She revealed that Jwaneng Mine has put in place additional interventions to enhance blasting practices, vibration monitoring, slope monitoring systems and evacuation procedure and relevant employees will also be undertaking refresher courses that will also be a review of processes as well as procedures.
Kanaimba-Sanai said that they have also been reviewing procedures and these are being finalized to govern pit operations, slope monitoring and response to alarms, emergency preparedness and pit evacuation procedures.