17 September 2021
By Joshua Y Machinga.
Building on from the previous writings that detailed why safety, health and environment (SHE) is critical for the sustainable development of the artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) sector, this blog details what the artisanal and small-scale miners (ASMers) have done with regards to upholding SHE. Organisations such as the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA), have been advocating for the formalisation of the ASM sector, including engraining the SHE culture amongst ASMers. To that end, there have been several SHE trainings where ASMers have been trained on SHE issues. This is because a mind shift approach and model is required on safety, health, sustainable and responsible mining in the ASM sector.
late the ASM sector has become a critical poverty reduction strategy for
millions of people around the country. The small-scale miners’ gold delivery to
Fidelity Printers and Refiners (FPR) continues to surge with August figures
showing that the sector delivered 1.91 tonnes while large scale miners
delivered 1.03 tonnes. Despite the increased gold deliveries, the artisanal and
small-scale miners (ASM) are convinced that creating a conducive and
appropriate legal and policy framework for the sector will triple the gains. This
then makes it critical to ensure that safety and health prevails in the sector.
ensure that SHE culture is spread to the ASMers, the capacitated miners formed
the Zimbabwe Mining Safety Health and Environmental Council (ZIMSHEC). The
organisation was launched on the 10th of September 2021 inspired by
several trainings undertaken by the ZELA with support from Christian Aid.
during the official launch of the Council, an event held at a local hotel in
Bulawayo and attended by different stakeholders, the guest of honour and Deputy
Chief Government Engineer Tapererwa Noel Pasikwavaviri had this to say,
“The official launch of the
ZIMSHEC could not have come at a better time. Our country has achieved
milestones in passing and enforcing legislation on health and safety across the
board and we have managed to reduce workplace injury and deaths. However, a
myriad of challenge are still faced in the artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM)
sector where to a greater extent there is laxity in upholding health and safety
It is therefore befitting that we
are gathered here today to launch an important programme that will go a long
way in ensuring health, safety, sustainable and enhanced productivity in the ASM
sector. For us as a country, to achieve a 12 billion mining economy by 2023
there is need for a multisectoral approach. As a Ministry, we are ready to
partner with all stakeholders to ensure that our mines are not death traps.”
his official address, the Secretary General Mr Philemon Mokuele highlighted
that the Council wants to provide continuous training on safety and
environmental issues among artisanal and small-scale miners. Mokuele also acknowledged
ZELA and partners for raising awareness among ASM players on different aspects
including Occupational Health and Safety risks including how these can be
addressed in order to sustainably and consistently promote safe mining
practices and environmental stewardship.
Miners do acknowledge that formalization is a process and
assert that an enabling environment must be created for the sector to thrive.
This will also minimize negative environmental and health impacts that are
common in ASM.
 The Zimbabwe
Safety Health & Environmental Council (ZIMSHEC), an organisation founded by
artisanal and small-scale miners in Zimbabwe whose aim is to promote
occupational health and safety and reduce deaths in mines around the country.