Local staff at Husab Mine did not follow safety procedures: Yang

01 Mar 2019 19:00pm
WINDHOEK, 01 MAR (NAMPA) – Some Namibian staff of Swakop Uranium at the Husab Mine did not follow blasting safety procedures, Charge d’Affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Namibia, Yang Jun has said.
Yang was responding to a question raised from the floor at the fourth Dr Theo-Ben Gurirab Lecture Series here on Thursday, on why Chinese employers (Beifang Mining Services) allegedly fail to follow safety procedures and what the Chinese Embassy is doing about it.
The theme of the series is ‘The Impact of China-Africa Relations on Namibia in the context of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC)’.
Early this week, Swakop Uranium employees at Husab Mine downed tools and demanded the removal of Chinese drilling and blasting contractor, Beifang Mining Services, from the mine with immediate effect.
The demonstration was preceded by a safety high potential incident at the mine in February, where a detonation occurred at the loading face after a shovel bucket came into contact with the primed detonator and set off the booster.
The Chinese Charge d’Affaires said he called the Husab Mine and Beifang Mining Services management after the reports in the newspapers.
“They told us their story and what I want to tell you even if it makes you feel uncomfortable [is] that the explosive company has strict explosive rules and everyone has to follow them,” noted Yang.
He went on to say the management informed him that they trained all their staff and according to normal procedures, when they are done with blasting at the mine, they would send experts to inspect the area which underwent blasting to look for explosives that might not have exploded during the blasting.
“There are several local staff, I have to point out Namibian local staff, who did not follow those procedures. They just walked around that area and reported back to the director that the area was cleared. When the excavator dug the ground it touched the unexploded explosives which resulted in the explosion,” Yang outlined.
He emphasised that China and Namibia are old friends who cooperate smoothly and in harmony with each other but when accidents happen, thinking of accusing Chinese nationals and companies without knowing the details is not fair.
“Have you done what is right and have you taken the right attitude towards the cooperation, I think that should be the right attitude and that would work well towards future cooperation,” said Yang.