Chinese gold miner Kunyu Mine has dismissed allegations
that there is rampant abuse of workers and disregard for environmental laws at
its Mudzi operations in Mashonaland East.
Kunyu Mine was responding to two investigations by The
Standard early this year where it was established that tens of workers had
approached the National Employment Council (NEC) for the mining industry
complaining about unfair dismissals.
Workers at the mine where three workers were crushed to
death after two ore wagons fell into an inclined mine shift also complained
about alleged unfair labour practices.
The miner was also accused of polluting the nearby rivers
by discharging its effluent into surrounding streams.
At the time Kunyu Mine executives ignored requests for
comment on the allegations.
When the last story was published, an organisation known as
China Africa Economic and Culture Exchange and Research Centre (CAECRC) invited
journalists to Kunyu Mine “to report on the currently ongoing issues at the
company and the surrounding community.”
CAECRC offered the invited journalists “food, transport and
remuneration” in what was largely viewed as an attempt cover-up.
Almost two months after the guided tour, Kunyu Mine
management has released a statement describing the investigations as
“half-truths and falsehoods.”
“To set the record straight, Kunyu Mine operates within the
confines of local law and should there be any doubts in this regard, law
enforcers are free to undertake their duties with our utmost compliance,’’ the
mine said in the statement.
It said investigations into the 2020 accident showed that it was “caused by violation of
operation procedures by one of the mine workers.”
“Efforts were made to take the injured personnel to the
hospital,” the mine said.
“We also conducted a customary function at the place where
the accident happened and we have documents confirming payments of support for
each family of employees, who lost their lives.
“A total of US$12 012 was used in the aftermath of the
accident in hospital and funeral arrangement bills.
“Additionally we have enhanced the safety of our production
after the accident in 2020, which has been inspected and approved by the
Ministry of Mines.
“Our personal protective clothing has also now been
compliant with local regulations with uniforms, helmets and safety shoes being
On the large scale dismissal of employees, Kunyu Mine said
“substantial evidence in the hands of our lawyers shows that all resignations
and dismissals were done in a reasonable and legal manner.”
“As an enterprise that currently employs 248 people across
departments, it surely is understandable to have faces changing over the years
owing to different circumstances,” it added.
“The welfare of our workers is top priority and if we have
to separate we do that in a dignified manner.”
It also denied accusations that it was one of the worst
polluters of the Rwenya River, saying it recently tested the water in the river
for cyanide with the Environmental Management Agency “and the results show that
the water is not poisoned.”
Unions said they had filed cases with the NEC, which were
taking too long to resolve as they alleged that the Chinese miner was being
shielded by the authorities. Standard