Mining activities at the Jwaneng Mine have been stopped until investigations into last month’s fatal accident are complete.
The mines General Manager Balisi Bonyongo told a media briefing last Friday that until the cause of the June 29 tragedy that claimed the life of Motshwari Raseiteo was established, operations would continue to be suspended.
So far two sets of inquiries are ongoing, one being from the Department of Mines, which has a statutory obligation to investigate mine accidents in its capacity as the regulator. The other is an internal one commissioned by Debswana and is constituted by mining experts plus representatives of the Botswana Mine Workers Union (BMWU). Debswana owns the mine.
Bonyongo said there was a model of investigating accidents of this nature, which mandates that BMWU must form part of the panel on anything that affects safety at the mine.
He said the investigations would look into the entire pit design and where it failed together with mine operations including activities such as blasting. Bonyongo said they also looked at employee movements in the pit, risk prone areas, failures and the systems that the mine used to assess the mine walls.
He said it was important that the investigations were done and completed well so that they could learn from them. Meanwhile, three mine engineers have been suspended on pay pending investigations.
“Their suspension is meant for them not to interfere with investigations as they were responsible for monitoring systems of the pit,” Bonyongo said.
Until recently, the Jwaneng mine had a clean safety record of adhering to international Occupational Health and Safety Management System (OHSAS) having obtained OHSAS 18001 certificate of safety.