Tanga — A RESIDENT of Sakale village in Amani division, Muheza district, Mr. Silvesta Ngoda (30), has died when digging for gold at the prohibited Sakale gold mine.
The Tanga Regional Police Commander (RPC) told journalists over the weekend that the incident took place on the night of October 2.
He said Silvesta's death was caused by the heap of earth which fell on him as the mine caved in when he was busy digging for gold in one of the pits. He said the area, which is alleged to have gold deposits, was strictly prohibited for any mining activity,but the deceased had violated the order,which might explain why he went there at night.
The RPC said it was not known whether he was alone or was in the company of other miners. Following the incident, the police commander reminded the residents to abide by the law and observe the government order prohibiting mining activity in the area.
"The area is out of bounds for mining operations because the mining method is unsafe and also to protect the environment," he said. In recent years, the Sakale area was invaded by hordes of artisanal miners numbering more than 3,000 from various regions in the country, but since the mining operations were illegal the government had decided to remove all the miners from the area.
The miners' invasion had caused great environmental degradation, taking into consideration that the area, which is located in the Usambara mountain range, is the source of river Zigi which supplies water to more than 300,000 residents in Tanga city.