Seven people, including six foreign nationals, died when some gas cylinders exploded at the SAS gold mine in Zimbabwe’s Mazowe district on Thursday, police said.
The six foreigners were Chinese,
as revealed by the former Minister of Energy Fortune Chasi on his social media page.
“When I got there, the police were collecting the bodies. Ministry of mines officials and other government officials were there trying to establish what exactly happened,” Chasi said.
The explosion happened at the mine about 50 km (30 miles) north of the capital, Harare, police said.
Officers were “investigating the circumstances in which six foreign nationals as well as a Zimbabwean died when some gas cylinders exploded at SAS mine,” police spokesperson Paul Nyathi.
Another person was critically injured and taken to a local hospital, Nyathi added.
“Very sad development at Saisai mine Mazowe South Ward 20. Oxygen tanks burst killing several people who include 1 child, 5 Chinese workers,” he tweeted.
This provoked mixed reactions as some social media users blamed Chinese miners for “cutting corners on safety and security.” hence coming out as celebrating the death of the Chinese.
“The Chinese have slack health and safety controls. It’s unfortunate that the relevant authorities who are supposed to enforce it are either well bribed or they are sleeping on the job,” one user commented on the issue.
In a statement, the Zimbabwe Republic Police confirmed the incident and said it is carrying its investigation.
“The ZRP is investigating the circumstances in which six foreign nationals, as well as a Zimbabwean, died when some gas cylinders exploded at SAS mine, Lowdale on 07/10/21.” The Police then released a further statement shortly confirming it was six people who had been killed by the explosion.
Some Chinese-owned companies have previously denied allegations that they were flouting safety regulations.
Mazowe is well known for its mines as the area is rich in several minerals including gold. There have been plenty of mining accidents in the area but these have been mostly on abandoned mines which are then co-opted by artisanal miners.
— Zimbabwe Republic Police (@PoliceZimbabwe) October 8, 2021