Safety, Health and Environment Statement
Recognising that the core activities of coal mining and processing inherently impact on safety and on the environment and the community in which it operates, the Company undertakes:
To maintain a safe and healthy working environment for its employees and the community within which it operates. In all our activities safety comes first.
To operate in compliance with all applicable current and future environmental laws and regulations, to strive to attain international standards where no local standards exist and to maintain contact with legislating authorities.
To continually monitor and assess the environmental impact of its operations, to minimize pollution, reduce waste and aim for maximum recovery in order to conserve the non-renewable resource that forms the basis of the business.
To integrate environmental planning and management into existing and future operations and processes in order to protect the environment from undue damage.
To educate, train and inform all its employees on environmental responsibilities and to maximize individual awareness and contribution, and
To communicate with interested parties in industries and the community on issues related to the environment.
Hwange Colliery Company’s commitment to Safety, Health and Environment (SHE) issues is enshrined in the Company’s mission and other policy statements.
Traditionally the focus in this area has been on Safety topics, particularly since the Kamandama Mine Disaster, which radically changed the way Hwange, as well as all other mines in Southern Africa, tackled this important facet of mining. However in line with worldwide standards, this has been broadened to encompass the health of the individual, as well as the actual work and surrounding environment.
To assist with the implementation of SHE Policies the Company employs specialists in related fields to offer appropriate advice and training to all employees in regard to these matters.
A main SHE Committee, comprising all Heads of Departments of the Company and workers representatives is responsible for policy issues and provides operational guidelines.
An important date on the Company’s annual calendar is the Safety, Health and Environment Function where directors, management, workforce and major equipment suppliers get together to review performance in these areas, as well as to recognize and reward those individuals who have excelled and achieved their SHE performance targets.
Involvement and joint commitment of management and staff has resulted in the development of work policies and procedures, as well as first aid, rescue and safety training to create a safe working environment.
Sub-committees of the main SHE committee, made up of a cross section of employees from workers and management, have been formed throughout the Colliery to encourage worker participation in such matters that affect them on daily basis.
Employees are motivated through section and interdepartmental safety competitions based on accident frequency and severity rates.
The company administers a hospital and associated health services. A modern well-equipped hospital complex provides medical care for employees, their dependants, Hwange residents and members of the rural community up to a distance of 150km from the town.
The hospital has five doctors, 325 beds, two operating theatres and all other equipment that is required in a modern hospital.
Nurses and midwives are trained in excess of the hospital’s needs contributing to the nation’s requirement for medical staff.
The Health services are responsible for programs such as malaria prevention, HIV/AIDS awareness, personal hygiene and employee health monitoring.Lubancho is run by a non-governmental organization and a Christian Centre involved with HIV/AIDS issues and complements the Company’s health care services by providing assistance to AIDS orphans, needy children and terminally ill patients in the Hwange area.. It also runs a home-based care programme, a counseling service specifically aimed at supporting those families who are looking after orphans. Hwange Colliery fully supports this community service.
Hwange Colliery is committed to the principle of integrated environmental management and continues to invest time and funds in striving for greater harmony between its operations and the ecologically sensitive environment.
Of the two mining methods, Opencast mining is the most destructive to the environment in that to get access to the coal seam below the surface, the land is stripped bare of its vegetation. The mixture of fireclay, carbonaceous mudstones and shales found in the overburden material encourages the process of spontaneous combustion.
To correct this Hwange Colliery has in place a rehabilitation program which involves covering burning spoil piles with supplementary stripping material to suppress the fires and starve them of oxygen. This material is then leveled and contoured before agricultural lime and fertilizers are added. Indigenous trees and grasses are planted at the start of the rainy season to revegetate the land and thus encourage fauna to return to their natural habitat. The principle of developing self-sustaining eco-systems is followed.
Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) are part and parcel of any future expansion programmes on the mine in accordance with the requirements of Zimbabwe and International Legislation
.Noise, air and water pollution level are monitored and corrected where necessary. Employees are equipped with the personal protective clothing and equipment against adverse conditions.