17 Miners in suspected Carbon Monoxide underground accident at Colum Coal Mine Industries Limited

Maamba coal open pit mine provides coal for the thermal plant operations and sells surplus to cement manufacturing companies. Above is the aerial view picture of the mine.
Maamba coal open pit mine provides coal for the thermal plant operations and sells surplus to cement manufacturing companies. Above is the aerial view picture of the mine.

17 Miners cheated death yesterday at Colum Coal Mine Industries Limited in Sinazongwe district, southern province, after being suffocated and subsequently fainted due to presence of suspected carbon monoxide underground.

The 17 miners were found unconscious in the early hours of yesterday around 03:00hours at shaft six underground.

Acting Mine Manager, Oliver Kabango confirmed the accident to ZANIS in Sinazongwe in an interview yesterday.

Mr Kabango however, said no death was recorded as all the 17 victims were rescued immediately and rushed to Sinazeze health centre.

He said all of them were in a stable condition and had already been discharged after receiving treatment at the health centre.

“We have since deployed the Mine Ventilation Officer and the Safety officer respectively, to go underground to ascertain the source of the gas that affected the miners,” Mr Kabango stated.

And Sinazongwe District Commissioner, Sheena Muleya, who visited the victims at the health centre before they were discharged, has expressed worry over the accident that almost claimed a lot of lives.

She later toured the site at Shaft six where the accident occurred and addressed the mine management.

“You must desist from negligence of this nature to avoid the risk of losing the lives of workers at the expense of maximizing profit,” Ms Muleya cautioned the management.

The District Commissioner has since directed the mine management to submit a detailed report on what caused the release of carbon monoxide that affected the accident victims to her office without delay.

Meanwhile, Mine workers Union of Zambia (MUZ) Representative, at Colum Coal Mine, Oliver Siantiyo, has called for serious investigations into the matter by relevant authorities.

Mr Siantiyo, said workers at the mine fear for their lives due to inadequate safety measures at the mine company.

“The accident could not have happened if only responsible officers at the mine had conducted pre -inspections underground before deploying the miners there,” he charged.

The Union Representative has also appealed to the Labour Office to intervene and help ensure safety of the workers is adhered to accordingly.


  1. Oh God we pray for their quick recovery. Jehovah spray your blood on our people and protect them. We know as we get closer to elections there is always a party in opposition which gets desperate for blood

  2. sometimes its better to use both new and old techniques to be on a safe side, I know the use of canary birds and mice to detect carbon monoxide by miners underground was done away with decades ago, sometimes old school can become real handy.

  3. Typically, every coal miner should carry a gas detector when they go underground. It speaks to a high level of negligence that none of the 17 coal miners had something on them to alert them to presence of Carbon Monoxide.

    And normally, Carbon Monoxide occurs when some sort of incomplete combustion is happening. So what was burning in the mine? What type of protective equipment is standard and required before workers go underground?

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