Mopani Copper Mines PLC’s Mine Rescue Technical Advisor, Mr. Maron Chongo, has been appointed as a Judge for the 2024 International Mining Rescue Competition (IMRC) to be held in the Republic of Colombia from 12th to 20th September 2024.

Mr. Chongo becomes the first judge from the African continent to ever adjudicate at the biennial event, which assesses the capabilities of the world’s best mine rescue teams in underground emergency response and other mine rescue aspects.

According to the letter of appointment sent to Mr. Chongo from the IMRC Colombia 2024 Organising Committee and signed by Colombia National Mining Agency Mine Safety and Rescue Manager, Ms. Maria Carolina Galindo Nino, the appointment was in recognition of the unique critical skills possessed by the former Zambia Mines Rescue President.

“Aspects such as professional education, experience, training in topics such as mining rescue, first aid skills, recognition in the mining sector, among others, were taken into account,” wrote Ms. Nino.

Mr. Chongo will participate in the judging of the ‘Test of Skills and Physical Capacity in Mining Rescue’ and the ‘Theoretical Test (Task Force and Equipment Technician Test)’ categories at the global competition.

“We hope to be able to count on all your criteria, experience and ability so that the development of this test is fair, exemplary and contributes to the improvement of the knowledge and skills of the rescuers who will participate,” added Ms. Nino.

Zambia will be represented at this year’s event by the mine rescue teams from Konkola Copper Mines PLC (winners of the Zambia Chamber of Mines’ Mines Rescue Competition in 2022) and NFCA Africa Mining PLC (winners of the competition in 2023).

In welcoming his appointment as a judge for the 2024 Colombia International Mining Rescue Competition, Mr. Chongo said: “I am greatly humbled by this special recognition by the Organising Committee. To be the first judge from the African continent speaks volumes not just about my abilities but more so about the levels we are raising as mine rescue teams. It demonstrates that whatever we are doing as mine rescue teams across Africa, and in particular here in Zambia, is up to international standards.

“I also wish to commend all organisations and companies who are sponsoring mine rescue teams, particularly the Zambia Chamber of Mines and all mining companies in Zambia, for pushing mine rescue to global standards.”