By Joseph Madzimure
Coal mining companies are exempted from the 21-day Covid-19 national lock-down which starts today, since their operations relate to generation of electricity.
In a statement, Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando confirmed the latest development.
“Reference is made to the announcement of the national lockdown on March 27 2020 by President Mnangagwa and the subsequent Statutory Instrument 83 of 2020 (Public Health (Covid-19) Prevention Containment and Treatment) (National Lock-down) order 2020,” he said.
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.”
In executing the national lockdown for the rest of the mining industry, Minister Chitando said the ministry in consultation with industry, had noted a number of industry-specific challenges for the sector.
He said these and other challenges were already recognised by the President’s statement, which emphasised the need to keep certain critical equipment and services in operation.
“It further recognises the need for essential services to continue operating during the national lockdown.”
The Ministry of Mines and Mining Development in consultation with other stakeholders has developed a framework, which recognises some challenges facing the industry.
“The ministry in consultation with the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe Miners Federation has developed a framework through which the mining industry, taking into account applications for specific exemptions, will implement the national lockdown.
“The framework recognises the said challenges and is meant to give immediate temporary relief, while Government is considering applications from the respective mining companies.”
Mining operations, which face implementation challenges, are requested to apply for partial exemption to the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development through the Chamber of Mines and Zimbabwe Miners Federation.
“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 Covid-19 virus,” said Minister Chitando.
“Once the application is lodged with the Chamber of Mines or Zimbabwe Miners Federation, the mining company in question may be allowed to continue operating pending a response from Government.”
The minister urged all mining companies seeking exemption to contact the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe Miners Federation for further guidance. The Herald