Gold deposits have reportedly been discovered at a village cemetery in Mlonga Village 17, Jambezi area under Chief Shana in Hwange District in Matabeleland North Province.
Police have already condoned off the area to stop illegal gold panning amid reports that a team of geologists from the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development has been to the area where it collected samples of the soils for further analysis.
Confirming the discovery of the gold deposits yesterday, Dr Obert Mpofu, the Minister of Mines and Mining Development, said just like the fellow villagers in Mlonga area and Hwange District in particular, he was also eagerly awaiting results from the geologists.
"Yes I can confirm that suspected gold deposits could have been found in Mlonga area in Jambezi area. We are working closely with Chief Shana and the local leadership so that if confirmed, the resource benefit the locals. Right now, our officials are working on the samples they got from the area to ascertain whether there is indeed gold. If it is there we will be very happy, happy for the community and happy for the country," said Dr Mpofu.
He said Hwange District like the rest of Matabeleland North Province was endowed with abundant natural resources adding that there was manganese and tin among other mineral resources, which should be exploited for the benefit of local communities.
Said Dr Mpofu: "Hwange District has always been a huge contributor to the economy for example Hwange Colliery Company has for the past 50 years been producing coal, which is helping the whole country. We also have power, which is generated in Hwange. So the district is doing a lot for the country and now we are talking of gold reserves, siyajabula sibili because, as I have said before, resources should benefit locals."
Villagers, who spoke to Chronicle yesterday, said the suspected gold reserves were discovered by a suspected gold panner from Gweru, who was attending a funeral and noticed that the soil coming from the grave contained gold.
"It was at a funeral wake when we were burying a fellow villager that a gold panner from Gweru shocked us all when he took some of the soil from the grave. Everyone was shocked and started wondering why he had taken the soil. Unknown to us he had seen that the area could be having gold," said Mr Mark Sibanda, a villager.
He said later that night, a light was noticed in the graveyard and villagers at first thought that it could have been a ghost.
"We teamed up and went to the grave yard and alas, it was that visitor, who was digging to get gold.
"We apprehended him and took him to the police and from there people were now interested in panning, but the area was quickly condoned off by the police. So we are just waiting hoping that we get the first preference to mine the gold," said another villager.