Scott Sakupwanya forced to close mine as workers death toll increases
Scott Sakupwanya has finally been forced to suspend mining activities at his Redwing Mine in Penhalonga, Manicaland province following a series of deaths of workers due to unsafe mining practices by his Better Brands Mining company.
The decision to close the mine came after a directive by the Environmental Management Agency (EMA).
Two weeks ago, Nehanda Radio revealed that miners were dying “every week” at the gold-rich facility due to improper practices by Sakupwanya’s company.
Centre for Natural Resources and Governance (CNRG) has always been exposing Better Brands Mining for allegedly defying EMA’s directive to stop operations.
CNRG even went on to petition the line Ministry over the issue. It threatened legal action.
Accordingly, in a letter dated January 20, Better Brands announced that it would suspend operations at Redwing Mine, temporarily, until matters of increased number of fatalities, environmental degradation and constrained access controls are resolved.
“Better Brands mining hereby advises its valued stakeholders that all surface mining operations shall be suspended with immediate effect; mainly due to concerns in the increased number of fatalities, environmental degradation and constrained access controls,” read the letter.
“Better Brands Mining shall take this opportunity to restructure and rehabilitate the mining field in preparation for resumption of surface and underground mining operations.
“We shall be advising on progress. Your cooperation to this regard will be greatly appreciated.”
CNRG Executive Director, Farai Maguwu revealed two weeks ago that the model of mining that was employed by Better Brands was against responsible mining tenets and it had resulted in workers dying almost every week.
A week before, two Better Brands employees at Rezende Mine at Redwing reportedly died in underground flood waters.
He said underground mining accidents are continuing at the mine due to unsafe mining practices characterised by no safety protocols by the controversial company.
“….. Since they started operating dozens of their employees have died due to unsafe mining practices,” Maguwu said.
“Two days ago two of its employees at the Rezende mine at Redwing died in underground flood waters. Bodies retrieved, on way to Muchena and Nyamajura respectively for burial.”
He further told Nehanda Radio that CNRG had petitioned the Ministry of Mines to intervene and stop Better Brands operations in Penhalonga before more lives are lost.
“We reached out to the Ministry of Mines with a petition to stop the operations of Better Brands before more lives are lost. We did that on 20 July 2022.
“And on the 17th of August, the Ministry responded and said they are looking into the issue and they will get back to us after getting feedback from all the relevant parties. So, we are still waiting. We sent them a reminder just recently,” he said.