|Overview : |
Small-scale mining is being considered as one of the strategies to reduce poverty in Namibia. To date, many less advantaged people are engaged in small-scale mining activities in efforts to generate income. Small-scale mining in Namibia is concentrated mainly on semi-precious stones, such as tourmaline, smoky quartz, beryl, amethyst, prehnite, rock crystals and schorl.
Despite the benefits derived from such activities, small-scale mining conditions in Namibia, as in many other countries, are currently not favourable. This is due to a variety of factors including health and safety risks. Health and safety requirements are not presented in a manner that is easy to understand for small scale miner’s majority of whom have nominal formal education. In Namibia, preventative measures are inadequate and not properly enforced against mine accidents and safe work environment. Small-scale miners in Namibia are faced with a myriad of challenges that include harsh working conditions, unsafe or wrong mining methods, and lack of proper mining equipment. In addition, health problems related to inhalation of dust (which causes silicosis, a condition that affect lungs), noise (which causes tinnitus, a condition that affect ears), and extreme heat, are common, as are physical injuries due to rock falls and mine collapses. There are currently no health and safety guidelines to assist small scale miners to operate safely.
Now, there are small-scale miners operating in various mining hotspots in Erongo, Kunene and Karas Regions. However, it has been realized that the health of the small-scale miners is at risk. Against this background, the Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME) in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) require services of a consultant or consultants to develop health and safety guidelines for the small-scale miners.