Lafarge quarry blast kills Harare woman

POLICE and the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development have launched an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of a woman who lost her life after a Lafarge quarry blast bore through the roof and struck her on the head. 

Shupikai Chatsina (36) who was in the kitchen died on the spot while her aunt was injured after a fly rock from Lafarge Cement quarry mine ripped through the roof and hit her on the head.

The incident happened on 15 August 2019 and the deceased is survived by her spouse and five children.

Lafarge Cement Corporate Affairs Manager Tawanda Njerere confirmed the incident and said investigations by the police and the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development are underway.

It is true, there is a lady who died and another one injured when our contractor, Afri Mining was blasting at our quarry mining site near Pangoula Farm. We did the necessary notifications to the Ministry of Mines and immediate action was taken. We are now waiting for the report,” he said.

Njerere said they cannot talk of compensation before the Ministry of Mines and the police completes the investigation adding insurance will take over once the report has been produced. 

Lafarge Cement reportedly covered funeral expenses and is also meeting the medical bills for the injured.

Mines minister Winston Chitando is said to have visited the scene a few days after the accident and ordered Larfarge to erect billboards with blasting procedures, CNRG said. 

According to locals there were no warning signs erected around the farm workers’ compound. Warning signs were only put up after the accident happened,”CNRG added.  

“Lafarge Cement billboard with blasting procedures. The billboard was only erected on 26 August 2019“ The family was ordered not to talk to anyone about the incident and to refer all those inquiring to the police and the farm manager.”

CNRG Director Farai Maguwu described the incident as “an unnecessary loss of life, it’s an accident that shouldn’t have happened In the first place because there are laid down procedures for blasting which are all intended to protect life and these were ignored.”

He added: “I am equally disappointed with attempts by the government to conceal the matter by threatening the community not to talk to anyone about the unfortunate incident.”