HOSPITAL SUES RIOZIM : EXPLOSIONS ENDANGERING LIVES
A Kadoma hospital has sued mining conglomerate RioZim for mining too close to the health facility, which has been reverberating with the sound of explosions from the Cam & Motar Mine and has seen flying rocks landing on the hospital’s roof and windows.
The windows and roof of Eiffel Flats Hospital have been damaged by the violent explosions and hospital staff has been forced to evacuate terrified patients to a safe house after blast particles almost hit persons receiving medical treatment.
Locally-owned RioZim was created in 2004 when Rio Tinto, the world’s third largest miner, largely left Zimbabwe while retaining its diamond interest.
RioZim, has been dragged to the High Court by the Kadoma hospital which wants operations at its Cam & Motar Mine halted for violating environmental and contractual agreements.
In documents filed at the High Court last week, the hospital said RioZim has violated an agreement to maintain a 90-metre distance from the hospital and is now excavating within 20 metres of the hospital yard.The hospital’s director, Anesu Kusangaya and his wife Olyn,
are the first and second applicants while RioZim is the first respondent, with its gold unit, RioGold being the second responded.
The urgent High Court application was filed by the hospital’s lawyer, Canaan Dube of Dube, Manikai and Hwacha Legal Practitioners.
On Monday last week, court documents indicate the mine caused a huge scare at the hospital when blast particles hit its roof and burst through windows, narrowly missing patients.
According to the court documents, RioZim was supposed to first relocate the hospital before it could blast for gold from within 90 metres.
“On or about 3 June 2017, first and second applicants and second respondent entered into an agreement in terms of which it was agreed that the respondents would not engage in any conduct which would unlawfully infringe or violate the rights of the applicant’s up to and including the date of the complete relocation of the applicant’s business to a new location,” the documents read.
“In breach of the terms of the agreement, on 4 December 2017, the first respondent, through use of explosives, engaged in blasting activities which endangered the hospital patients and workers and caused the destruction of property and some items on the property.
“First respondent’s conduct is patently unlawful and the applicants will suffer irreparable harm if the first respondent and all those carrying out mining operations through it are permitted to proceed with the prospecting activities unencumbered.
“The balance of convenience favours the granting of the interim relief in terms of which the first respondent of its assignees are temporarily barred from the use of explosives whose effects damage the property disrupt the activities of the applicant at the property and endanger people present at the property at the time of blasting.
The applicants have no further remedy but to approach this court to abbreviate its processes and grant and grant the interim reprieve from the first respondent’s actions,” the court documents further read.
The Kusangayas also submitted that following the heavy blasting last week, the hospital staff had to evacuate terrified patients to a safe house after blast particles, in form forms of flying rock fragments, almost hit them.
“The applicants ceased operations (following the incident) and had to move patients to a safe house. The blast resulted in flying rocks landing on the hospital’s roof and windows, causing whole destruction of the hospital building.
The vibrations from the blasting from the use of explosives cause incessant noise and shattered glasses, medicine cabinets and destroyed two cell phones. The respondent’s incessant blasting at Cam & Motar mine will result in a repeat of the destruction of the applicant’s property and harm its patients and workers,” the court papers further read.
RioZim is yet to respond to the application.
Cam & Motor has been RionZim’s most productive mines recently, having produced 856 kg of gold in 2016 alone, while the company’s other gold operation at Renco, Masvingo, produced 712 kgs.
RioZim has since added a third gold mining operation to its portfolio — Dalny Mine in Chakari.