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Ministry blocks Uis mine blast

The Ministry of Mines and Energy has stopped the proposed blasting which Uis Tin Mining Company intended to carry out through one of its mining licences, and ordered the company to rehabilitate the site.

The ministry’s chief mines inspector, Matthews Amunghete, told mine manager Efraim Tourob in a letter dated 9 June that the ministry is not in a position to provide written permission to execute the proposed blast, because it is not in accordance with the law.

The letter states a number of reasons why the proposed blast could not be sanctioned, including that the site is within 500m of public infrastructure, such as the Uis-Henties Bay Road (C35) and telecommunication lines.

“Several residential properties are located within 500m of the proposed blasting site, and no consent letter was obtained from the property owners,” the ministry said.

There is no consent letter from the Roads Authority, the state agency responsible for national road networks, and there is no consent letter from Telecom, the state agency responsible for telecommunication infrastructure, the letter continued.

Amunghete said besides using the wrong detonators, the blaster was not licensed to perform the blast at Uis.

“Your company has drilled and charged holes for a blast before prior approval of the blast by the chief inspector of mines in terms of the Explosives Act, and if the blasting is located within the Uis settlement boundaries, your company should have obtained permission from the local authority for the proposed blasting,” Amunghete said.

He said the company did not present a blasting foreman as required in terms of Section 10 (7) of the Explosives Act, and that explosives were left unguarded, which is in contravention of the law.

“You are directed with immediate effect to treat the charged holes as misfires, and remove all the explosives effectively and rehabilitate the area.

“Be informed that an inspection will be carried out to ascertain that the area has been cleared of such explosives and duly rehabilitated,” Amunghete directed.

No comment could be obtained from Tourob.
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