Natural resource advocacy group Centre for Natural Resource Governance (CNRG) has urged the Government to immediate stop all learning activities at Globe and Phoenix primary and secondary schools to ensure safety of learners following the caving in of a classroom block due to underground mining by artisanal miners.
This follows yesterday’s incident in which 18 students were injured after a classroom block caved into a mining shaft at the school premise.
In a statement following the incident, CNRG implored the Government to carry out investigations into the incident and inspect tunnels in the mining towns of Kwekwe and Kadoma.
“We, therefore, call upon the Government of Zimbabwe to: immediately halt all learning activities at Globe and Phoenix primary and secondary schools on safety grounds. Offer psycho-social support to all the staff, pupils and families affected by the Globe and Phoenix incident. Dispatch a team of civil and structural engineers to investigate the classroom collapse at Globe and Phoenix Primary School and to inspect the tunnels in both Kadoma and Kwekwe.
“Make a firm decision, based on the recommendation of impartial experts, whether mining must continue beneath the cities of Kwekwe and Kadoma. Stop the culture of impunity enjoyed by artisanal, small and medium scale miners whose activities are threatening the safety of people in the two cities. 6. Utilize on-going efforts to amend the Mines and Minerals Act to strengthen the law so that it protects human settlements against destructive mining practices.
“Ensure that law-abiding mining corporations are not undermined by the work of unscrupulous miners, whether registered or unregistered, by coming hard on unsafe mining practices 8. Urgently convene an all stakeholders meeting to discuss the Globe and Phoenix incident, assess the risk and explore lasting solutions. We see the Globe and Phoenix incident as warning of a ticking time bomb whose full-scale implosion will have a deleterious and yet inexcusable impact on the two cities and the nation at large,” said CNRG
The advocacy group said the impact of blasting from mining activities had posed a threat to residents.
“Mining in this region has been poorly regulated regardless of clear evidence that both legal and illegal mining activities are posing a danger to the cities of Kadoma and Kwekwe and surrounding environs. Disused shafts and tunnels in the two cities have lately attracted an army of artisanal and small-scale miners with little knowledge of underground mining operations. The impact of blasting is frequently felt in Kwekwe and Kadoma, often resulting in infrastructure shaking and cracking. Residents across the two cities complain of frequent tremors emanating from blasting,” said CNRG