Three workers die in mine accident
African Barrick Gold (ABG) yesterday declared dead three Bulyanhulu Gold Mine workers, who were trapped underneath a collapsing rock at the mine situated in Kahama district, Shinyanga region.
The employees, who lost their precious lives in the tragic rock fall incident, according to ABG Public Relations and Communication Manager, Teweli Teweli, are Dickson Kadelema, 36, Vedastus Wilfred Tandise, 33, and Joel Matthew Nicholas, 34.
While Kadelema was a Jumbo operator at the mine employed in 2003, Tandise and Nicholas were recruited as miners in 2008 and 2007 respectively, Teweli said.
“Words cannot express the deep sorrow we feel for the tragic loss of life of our colleagues,” ABG Chief Operating Officer, Mr Dave Anthony, was quoted as saying in a statement availed to The Citizen here yesterday. “Thoughts and prayers of all the ABG employees were with their diseased colleagues’ families and friends,” he said.
A statement released by the company early on Tuesday noted that the rock fall occurred between 2 and 3:00am, some 900 meters below ground. “The ground fell on a Jumbo machine and three employees are trapped,” Teweli said in the release.
He said the mine rescue team was deployed immediately after the incident had occurred and worked in rotation, around the clock, in an attempt to rescue the fateful miners.
The company suspended all mining activities and concentrated on the rescue mission.
Mr Teweli said yesterday that mining operations would continue being suspended for a period of mourning today as a sign of respect to the departed workers.
Though operations would be fully restored with effect from tomorrow, the area of the rock fall would remain closed until the incident has been investigated, the cause understood and any appropriate action taken, he said.
A team of senior investigators from Barrick Gold Corporation had been dispatched to commence a full and thorough investigation of the accident.
“ABG is committed to the safety of each of its employees and will continue to make safety the top priority at its mines,” Mr Teweli said.
Barrick had not suffered any employee safety-related fatalities since 2006 in Tanzania when a miner, who was injured when a rock fell on him, died while receiving treatment
Bulyanhulu mine earned a National Award for the best overall Occupational Health and Safety system from the Tanzania Occupational Safety and Health Authority last year.
Bulyanhulu is the only mine in the country which has experienced, competent and well trained team of people with unique and specialising on underground rescue,” Teweli said.
The Bulyanhulu rescue team with unique skills had been involved in a number of rescue missions across the country, he explained, citing at regular deployment of the team to the closed Buhemba Gold Mine during a number of accidents.
The team also sent equipment and facilities for draining water as fast as possible to the rescue mission when the tanzanite mines at Mererani in Manyara region were flooded in late March 2008.