Every member of staff working for Tungsten West recently swapped their usual day jobs to don some hi-viz in efforts to keep the mine site and its surroundings clean and clear.
On Friday 23 September, Tungsten West held its own version of Umuganda Day, a national tradition and law passed in Rwanda that sees every member of the community come together to look after where they live and work.
As the Tungsten West team grows, Mark Thompson, Executive Vice-Chairman wanted to bring people together and make sure standards across the whole of the Hemerdon Mine remain high.
All those staff members working on the day were split into teams with colleagues they would not normally work with and allocated a variety of tasks across areas of the mine and the surrounding bridle way and access points.
Mark explains: “I’ve worked in Rwanda and have a great deal of respect for Umuganda Day – it’s a brilliant way to bring people together and do some work for the greater good. Consequently, this is the start of a tradition at Tungsten West, when at least once a year, we will get together to keep the mine and surrounding areas clean and clear.”
Teams spread out across the site to litter pick, clear debris left by the former operator, clear plants and foliage that had grown over signs or access points, remove tubes from some of the 42,000 trees planted around the site and sweep access roads to ensure they were clear of debris.
Head of Health and Safety, Spenser Owen, was responsible for organising the day with the support of a team of Health and Safety Champions working in departments across the mine.
He explains: “We had a fantastic day on Friday – everyone pitched in and did their bit to help us clear and clean the mine site. As Health and Safety is one of our top priorities, we made sure all members of staff had the relevant PPE, equipment, risk assessments and work instructions in place to carry out their tasks safely and successfully. It was a great success.”
Not only did the Executive Team and Senior Managers put down their phones and pens to pick up sweeping brushes and shovels, they were joined by Chair of Tungsten West’s Board, Rob Ashley, who also got stuck into some manual labour in the name of a good cause.
Rob said: “Umuganda Day is a brilliant initiative and so I was very happy to represent the Board by taking part and doing my bit. There was a great sense of camaraderie amongst staff and I really enjoyed working with everyone to help look after the environment in which we’ve been entrusted. We take our responsibilities very seriously and are committed to treating the Hemerdon Mine and surrounding areas, and the people who live in them, with the utmost respect.”
Once all the cleaning was done, to reward staff for their efforts, a delicious hog roast awaited them!