Hwange Colliery has commemorated the 45th  Kamandama Mine Disaster, that saw 427 mine workers perish after an explosion at its underground shaft on the 6th of June 1972.

The ceremony was held at the Kamandama site in the mining town, Tuesday morning.

The Hwange community converged at the Kamandama site in Hwange for the memorial service held annually, in memory of the 427 mine workers who perished after an explosion caused by methane gas in 1972.

The delegates observed a minute of silence at 10:25 hours the exact time when the explosion occurred 45 years ago as an honour in memory of the departed.

Hwange Colliery board chairman Mr Winston Chitando said such reflections speak to the company`s turnaround strategy, as it puts the promotion of safety and health on the top priority list so as to eliminate any chances of such accidents in the future.

“Turning to the overall company’s strategic planning, we have in place, a strategic plan supported by the scheme of arrangement. The scheme of arrangement affords the company operating space to implement its business and turn around plans. The company’s assets are now protected through the scheme of arrangements,” said Mr Chitando.

Matabeleland North Minister of State Ambassador Cain Mathema says despite the unfavourable economic environment, government will ensure that safety of workers remains a priority in all mining companies through various policies.

“The aftermath of the Kamandama Mine Disaster saw the nation play a pivotal role in the implementation and monitoring of safety and health policies in the mining sector for the benefit of the mining industry in Zimbabwe. Safety, health and environmental sustainability have since become a topical issue at national and regional level,” Cde Mathema said.

Associated Mine Workers Union of Zimbabwe secretary general  Mr Tinago Ruzive, however, expressed concern that some mining companies are not doing enough to promote the safety of workers at the workplace.

“Some companies don’t even buy safety clothing and when you get there you find that the workers have no protective clothing. We find this very disturbing and call on all mining companies to cooperate on the issue of safety,” pleaded Mr Ruzive.

Also in attendance at this year’s commemorations were the Deputy Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Cde Thokozile Mathuthu, the Zanu PF leadership, traditional leaders, local mining companies and the local community.