FA major tragedy is looming at a mine in Mazowe if government does not take decisive action in curbing thriving illegal mining activities reportedly perpetuated by police.
This comes amid complaints by stakeholders and residents that members of the Support Unit—a branch within the Zimbabwe Republic Police – tasked to guard Jumbo Mine are charging small-scale miners $100 to go underground.
The small-scale miners, who are mostly youths, have over the past days knocked off mine anchors in search for gold, risking the safety of nearby homes.
“The mine is closed, the support unit guys and the mine management are charging people 100 dollars to let them underground, but these illegal miners are removing the mine anchors and there are houses on the surface, if the situation is not stopped now, we are going to have a national disaster the first one of its kind in Zimbabwe,” a mine attendant who requested for anonymity told Zim Morning Post.
A resident, Trevor Chikuni, said “knocking off mine legs” was unsafe but was becoming common practice.
“These legs are said to be rich in gold and for the want of quick money they are taking all the risks which will eventually affect people on the surface,” Chikuni said.
Esther Chitete said the mine was attracting small-scale miners from far and wide.
“Right now people from all over the country come and pay to be allowed in. If you have your 10 guys you pay $100 per person going in and 100 per person coming out, these people can take a week or two underground, no toilets, no nothing, they can also spread diseases if they come to the surface unchecked,” Chitete said.
Zanu PF MP for Mazowe South, who is also the Deputy Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, Advocate Fortune Chasi, was not reachable for comment.
This comes as scores of artisanal miners were trapped at Cricket and Silver Moon Mines in Kadoma’s Battlefields area recently.
The two mines, Cricket and Silver Moon, got flooded following rain that ripped a dam wall in February.
The Civil Protection Unit in conjunction with Rescue teams from various mining companies and other artisanal miners managed combined to rescue survivors and retrieved twenty over 25 dead bodies.