Monday 15 January 2024


SMALL-SCALE artisanal miners (makorokoza) must stop operations during the rainy season because of the extreme risks of flooded workings and collapsing shafts and tunnels in saturated ground killing miners, Minister of Mines and Mining Development Zhemu Soda ordered yesterday.

Medium-scale and large-scale formal mining companies can continue operations, but have to observe the safest mining methods and be totally compliant with all requirements and obey all instructions from Government authorities.

This comes after a total of 15 artisanal miners registered under Metallon Gold’s Redwing Mine operating in the Tsapauta area of Penhalonga, were recently trapped in a collapsed mineshaft, and only emerged from the ground four days later in what is seen as a near miraculous rescue.

In September last year, a group of 42 artisanal miners working in a mine at Bay Horse in Chegutu were trapped after a mine shaft collapsed. Rescue workers managed to pull 22 out alive while 20 artisanal miners were killed. The collapsed shaft is now their burial ground.

At a media conference on mining precautions during the rainy season held in Harare yesterday, Mines and Mining Development Minister Zhemu Soda said that it was important for artisanal miners to stop operations during the rains so as to save their lives.

“As a precaution, small-scale artisanal miners are advised to completely stop mining altogether and resume when the rains stop. Furthermore, miners should cooperate with instructions given by Government authorities to ensure safe mining operations.

“The Ministry of Mines and Mining Development inspectors shall be out in full force to ensure that there is compliance with all governance requirements failure of which punishment will be imposed.”

“Miners who received awareness training during the safety, health and environment campaigns by our Mining Engineering Department are reminded to put into practice what they learnt. They should also share the good mining practices with their colleagues in the sector to save lives,” said Minister Soda.

While medium and large scale miners could continue with their operations but had to observe safe mining methods.

“Avoid working or mining along rivers or waterways as shafts are likely to flood from rain upstream posing risks of drowning.

“Avoid digging and blasting in old mine workings because soils easily get saturated and ground becomes unstable and is bound to collapse at any time burying our miners alive. Pillar robbing underground should be avoided at all costs;

“Avoid sinking shafts in low lying areas as there is a danger of mines being flooded by free flowing waters during the rains; Miners should take measures to divert free flowing water from flooding workings.”

The Minister reiterated that inspectors stationed across the country will impose penalties that are already provided for through the country’s Mines and Minerals Act to those who fail to abide by the directives. Herald 


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