Coal miners exempted from lockdown …urged to observe key health principles

by Grace Chekai

As Government escalates the fight against the COVID-19 scourge, mining companies exempted from the national lockdown have been implored to observe and implement correct health measures during execution of their duties.

Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Honourable Winston Chitando said this yesterday in a press statement.

“Reference is made to the announcement of the national lockdown on 27 March 2020 by His Excellency, President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the subsequent Statutory Instrument (S.I) 83 of 2020 (Public Health (COVID-19) Prevention Containment and Treatment) (National Lockdown) order 2020.

“According to the above order, coal mining companies are exempt in terms of section 2 (c) and 4 (1) (i) since their operations relate to generation of electricity. Notwithstanding the exemption, the companies are obliged to observe the key principles of the above order in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

Minister Chitando said that the challenges that were likely to be faced by the mining industry during the lockdown were considered prior to the exemption.

“In executing the national lockdown for the rest of the mining industry, the Ministry in consultation with the industry, has noted a number of industry specific challenges for the sector.

“These and other challenges are already recognized in His Excellency, the President`s statement, which emphasizes the need to keep certain critical equipment and services in operation. It further recognizes the need for essential services to continue operating during the national lockdown,” said the Minister.

Minister Chitando said that those companies which needed partial exemption must apply to the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development through the Chamber of Mines and Zimbabwe Miners Federation.

The Minister said that the applications should indicate clearly the nature and modus of operation during the lockdown period and the measures which will be taken to safeguard employees and other stakeholders from the potential spread of the corona virus.

Meanwhile, Zimbabweans have taken heed of Government`s call  for solitary confinement as very few people were seen in the streets. Only those from the security sector and the essential services were in the CBD.