KITWE district commissioner Binwell Mpundu says an inquest has been instituted to ascertain what happened at the Black Mountain. Ten people died when part of the historical slag dump, the Black Mountain, collapsed on them as they were digging at its foot.
Mines minister Richard Musukwa told the nation that those that died were scavengers who had illegally invaded the Black Mountain. In an interview, Mpundu said operations at the slug dump would remain halted as government is still waiting for an inquiry report that would ascertain what really happened.
“There is supposed to be an inquiry that is supposed to determine what really happened at the Black Mountain because there is no way that we can proceed and suggest measures without understanding what could have led to the incident,” he said.
He said the government and other stakeholders could not put up safety measures at the slag dump without knowing the cause of the accident. Mpundu said when the inquiry report is presented, the Ministry of Mines would then come in with systems that would enable safe mining at the Black Mountain.
He said operations were still on hold as the government was still waiting for a report from the Zambia Police and the Ministry of Mines on the causes of the accident. Mpundu said once a report is given, a meeting to be attended by the local authority, mines and companies operating from the slag dump would be convened to discuss ways in which safe mining could be practised.
“Activities at the Black Mountain are still on halt following the directive that was given by the Minister of Mines after the incident and as a local authority, we wanted to allow the families to conclude their burial and funeral arrangements before resuming work and we had agreed that there was going to be a series of meetings through which we are supposed to discuss all the interventions but an inquest has been instituted to determine what happened and after which the Ministry of Mines is going to come in to devise a system of the best practices that will allow safe operations or avoid what happened. We are still waiting for a report from the police as well as the Ministry of Mines after which we will commence discussions with the companies that operate at the black mountain so as to lay down the measures that have to be taken when mining at the Black mountain,” said Mpundu.