Debswana Diamond Company says slope failure incidents similar to ones that occurred at Jwaneng mine both in June 2012 and October 2013 are common in the mining industry.
The latter was predicted ahead of time and the mine managed to ensure there were no injuries to employees, no damage to equipment and no disruption to production.
Debswana also sought to clarify issues with regard to its engagement with the family of Motshwari Raseiteo who passed away during the June 2012 slope failure.
Recent media reports had purported that Debswana had evicted the Raseiteo family from Mine accommodation when in fact the late Raseiteo’s children still reside in the same Jwaneng Mine house, they lived in with their father before he met his untimely death.
The school going child is still enrolled at Acacia Primary School.
The family also continues to get subsistence allowances from the Debswana Pension Fund on a monthly basis to cater for their living expenses.
Following the agreement reached with them in late December 2013, the family advised that following the receipt of legal advice, they accepted the staff insurance benefits which have subsequently been paid out to them.
“Arrangements are now being made to relocate the family to their home in Bray,” said Ndiye Letsholathebe, Debswana’s legal advisor.
The media reports further purported that managers and some employees were responsible for the failure and this is not true, according to Debswana.
After the incident in June 2012, employees working directly in the area were suspended, without any fault, whilst investigations were being carried out.
“As is procedure, disciplinary hearings were held where appropriate under the circumstances and these processes have been concluded.
None of these employees was charged with having been responsible for the accident,” he said.
Debswana Group Mining Manager Lenayang Dimbungu told the media that slope failures are a natural occurrence in open cast mining operations and to mitigate this, Debswana has robust slope management programmes which involve complex slope monitoring devices and processes aimed at ensuring the safety of employees.
Subsequent to the 2012 slope failure, he said management launched a number of interventions to improve the management of slope failures.
Dimbungu, said, “We have reinforced our stability management programme by acquiring additional slope monitoring systems and other devices that we did not have before.
The increase in the number and type of devices employed in the slope stability management programmes has improved our detection of and readiness to respond to failures.”
He further added that, “we have learnt from the past and are able to further improve these processes and better employ the devices to create a safer environment.
Our systems and people continue to monitor and manage slope failures diligently to avert any casualties.
Notably, we have also empowered more of our employees to take life-saving decisions in relation to their areas of work.”