HWANGE Colliery Company has procured a new booster pump for the mine rescue (PROTO) team to refill the team’s safety equipment and breathing apparatus during emergencies, drills, exercises and competitions.

A sketch survey has revealed that a number of mine rescue teams across the country use “PSS BG4 Oxygen Cylinders” commonly referred to as BG4 sets. The BG4 sets are refilled after usage at all times.

Underground mine gases emitted during emergencies can be highly concentrated, toxic and undetectable to the naked eye posing significant health threats to both miners and the environment-these may include methane, nitrous fumes, carbon monoxide and hydrogen sulphide.

Inhalation of the gases may cause burns, poisoning, suffocation or even death.

To protect themselves from the gases miners and mine Rescue teams depend on safety equipment like breathing apparatus that utilize both oxygen and breathing air.

The HCCL Bulletin caught up with the company’s Proto manager Mr Moses Nyathi to learn more about the new booster pump acquisition.

“The booster pump device is used to refill the BG4 sets, it essentially is an oxygen pump designed to efficiently and safely decant oxygen from storage cylinders at pressures of up to 300 bars into PSS BG4 oxygen cylinders,” said Nyathi.

He hailed management for the support through an investment of USD 46 000 towards the pump.

“As a mine rescue team we really appreciate the support from the Managing Director Engineer Blake Mhatiwa and General Manager – Finance and Company Secretary Mr Christopher Ncube who were there from the beginning in ensuring that the device was sourced.”

“They played a huge role and this is a big step in bolstering the efficiency of HCCL’s rescue teams. The acquisition will close a number of gaps, improve mine rescue activities and contain costs related to refilling of BG4 sets.”

Nyathi went on “We used to receive assistance with refilling the BG4 sets at Mimosa Mine for a fee, while How Mine and Blanket Mine offered the service for free. The refilling process involved driving from Hwange to the mentioned mines where the situation was not ideal especially in case of emergency.”

Mr Nyathi highlighted that before the acquisition, in-house training and exercises were carried out without donning or use of BG4 sets, because the filled up BG4 sets were reserved for emergencies, zonal exercises and national competitions.

“Our training was not at the right standard before the new booster pump thereby compromising the fitness of our brigades men and brigade woman. The team will now be able use BG4 sets during training,” he said.

Hwange Colliery Company’s mine rescue wing is made up of two Proto teams with a combined strength of 17 members consisting of 16 men and 1 lady.

The company is currently in the process of recruiting seven new members and forming a third team


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