These steps have been taken by Kansanshi Mining and Kalumbila Minerals to save lives during an emergency such as a fire, explosion or rock fall.
The move follows from Minister of Mines Christopher Yaluma’s recent emphasis on the importance of safety in the mining industry.
Kansanshi Mining and Kalumbila Minerals came together recently to compete in the Morris Rowe Safety Trophy Inter Mine Rescue Competition, which provides a safe environment for learning and sharing knowledge, realistic rescue scenarios that stimulate and challenge the teams, as well as a quality and honest appraisal of their performance with the emphasis on professional development.
The award is named after the general manager of Sentinel mine at Kalumbila.
“Our top priority as a company is to ensure that we have a safe and healthy workplace for our employees’ ad part of that is rigorous regular risk assessments to identify safety hazards associated with our operations and activities,” explains Kalumbila Minerals public relations coordinator Miriam Harmon.
The competition has three categories covering scenarios of vehicle on fire near a building; a motor vehicle accident and rescue; and rescue of an individual in a confined space.
The rescue teams were expected to both rescue the “victims” – posed by volunteer actors – and put out the fire within 20 minutes.
Kansanshi Mine won for their prowess and showing initiative to execute their duty within the specified time in two categories (motor vehicle accident rescue and putting out a fire) successfully.
“It is extremely important that we provide our employees with the necessary equipment and ensure that we train them in the most proficient and realistic manner.
“And this will also be followed by regular meetings that will be held between all levels of management and employees to continually strengthen safety at all of the company’s operations,” says Harmon.
During the competition the teams were assessed in the four areas of incident command, technical tool operation, medical care and safety. Each team was given 20 minutes per scenario.
The four assessors debriefed each team following their challenge and provided them with positive, negative and learning points. The objective was to obtain the highest score within the allocated time given for each scenario.
Around the world, miners have to be prepared to deal with emergencies that can happen at any time and threaten the lives and safety of their workforce.
Mining accidents are extremely costly, whether measured in terms of medical expenses and disability compensation, lost production and wages, or damage to plant and equipment.
“Looking at the enormous investments that go into mining, any halt in the production chain of our mines costs money which in turn negatively impacts royalty payments and taxes. So, we will continue putting in place measures that will ensure that our mining operations remain as efficient as possible while maintaining the absolute safety of our employees,” explains Harmon.
“We also need to put in place measures that can either reduce or prevent any accidents at both our Kansanshi and Kalumbila mines. And this is why we introduced a fatigue monitoring system in the off-road haul trucks aimed at addressing both fatigue and traffic-related issues during our mining operations,” she adds.
The new system, which has been approved by the Department of Mine Safety at the Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development, aims to alert drivers and their dispatch controllers of driver fatigue or a drop-in concentration.
First Quantum Minerals also has a monitoring system to enable early detection of deviations from the environmental management system. It is also working with suppliers and contractors through development of contractual obligations to address indirect impacts associated with the company’s operations.
When mining operations are safe and efficient, they provide economic and social opportunities and benefits that result in positive multiplier effects such as higher copper production, employment and additional investments.
All images courtesy of First Quantum Minerals