10 Jerabos killed, seven injured as Black Mountain collapses

CHAPAMO Mineral Resources Limited says it is set to resume operations at the slag dump commonly known as the Black Mountain in Kitwe in the next two weeks, director Kelvin Tembo has said.

Mr Tembo said Chapamo has advanced in implementing Government-set conditions which include erecting a security fence and installation of Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras.

“Right now we are concluding interviews with the companies we selected. The preferred bidder will be known and work will start in the next two days.

The same company that will put up a security fence, will do the CCTV. It is a component of access control,” he said in an interview.

Mr Tembo said the premises had previously been guarded by 15 armed police officers and private security guards, but that the number would be doubled.

He said all the slag that was hanging would be brought down to ensure safety while the pits would also be inspected.

“We want to ensure stability and safety. So all the material that is sticking out at the Black Mountain will be brought down. Sanitation on the periphery will be improved.

We will put up portable lavatories for traders and other people on the periphery of the site. We have enough toilets for workers,” he said.

Operations at the Black Mountain were suspended in June this year after 11 people died when the slag caved in and buried them.

Mr Tembo appealed for more patience among the 150 employees and business partners and assured that it would not be long when operations would stir back to full capacity.

He said the conditions appear to be “tough” but indicated that they were necessary because of the risky nature of the operations.

Chapamo is a special purposes vehicle of seven companies which have employed youths, now referred to as small-scale miners. They have however continued receiving salaries.

Recently, Government revealed that investigations showed that Chapamo had no competent supervisors while operations were disintegrated such that it was difficult to account for workers on site at the time of accident.

There had also been failure to effectively supervise, direct and control operations as provided for under the mining regulations and conditions of grant.

Other findings were lack of competent supervisors below the mine manager while there were no documented safe operating procedures, log books to document work assignments.  There were no employee registers to account for persons on site. Chapamo was thus ordered to conduct a geotechnical assessment of the slag dump using competent persons to ascertain its stability and to develop a mine plan.

The Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development would have to approve the plan.