MASHONALAND WEST, ZIMBABWE — Four workers were killed and three others were seriously injured after an Aug. 28 explosion at the Grain Marketing Board’s Lion’s Den depot in Mashonaland West province in Zimbabwe, according to The Herald.
The newspaper noted that the impact of the explosion could be felt several meters away from the depot and was so strong that it ripped through reinforced concrete structures and caused a fire.
Perrance Shiri, Zimbabwe’s minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement, said the security arms of government had been called in to investigate the explosion.
“We had a very unfortunate incident whereby some explosion took place in the silo complex,” Shiri told The Herald. “We are not very sure what caused it. There are many theories as to what could have caused the explosion.
“We have now summoned forensic experts from the Zimbabwe Republic Police and other experts from various specialist departments to come and examine the site and possibly find out what could have caused the explosion.”
The Lion’s Den silos have 29 silo bins, which The Herald said make them the second largest in Africa after those in Egypt and the third in the world after those in Australia. The local silos have a storage capacity of about 104,000 tonnes of grain.
Following the explosion, the silos have been temporarily closed and Shiri said grain that was stored in the silos will be placed in bags and stored outside.
“We have got open silos where we use tarpaulins, but it now entails maize being put in bags for effective storage,” he said. “As it is, the silos will be temporarily unserviceable until the necessary repair work has been carried out.”