19 August 2018

Zimbabwe: Illegal Miner Crushed to Death By Falling Boulder

Photo: Supplied
(file photo).

A gold miner was crushed and killed by a falling boulder while three of his colleagues were injured as they were digging for the precious mineral at Gaika Mine in Kwekwe.

The tragedy occurred in the early hours of Friday morning after a part of mine's walls had collapsed.

The deceased, who died on the spot, was identified as Stenford Machangai while the injured are Privilege Sayi, Sikhulekile Mlalazi and Kirian Chimutengo. The three had to be rushed to Kwekwe District Hospital for treatment.

It emerged that prior to the accident, miners had blasted their working area with explosives thereby weakening the walls of the mine.

The tragedy comes a few months after the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) in June dislodged hordes of invaders who had descended on the foreign owned gold mine.

The clandestine mining activities however continued unabated immediately after the army left the place.

Sources close to the development told this publication that tragedy struck after the walls of section of the mine had given way to pressure after the blast.

"The accident happened between 4 and 5 am on Friday. The miners had set in explosives on the area they were going to work on. We suspect that walls gave way to pressure after the blast," the source said.

Another source said the now deceased might unknowingly have been close to the loose rock which then struck him on the head.

Officer Commanding Kwekwe District Police Station Kinston Mushawembirimi confirmed the tragedy.

"We received a report about the death of a miner at Gaika in the early hours of Friday. We are however conducting investigations on the matter," he said.

Residents who live close to the mine have complained about the noise which often comes from intermittent blasting and explosions from the mining site.

The Mine is owned by Duration Gold.

Since 2006, there has not been any production at the site because of the volatile political environment which also affected foreign owned businesses especially.

Late last year, Zanu PF bigwigs in Kwekwe grabbed the mine from its owners and gave it to youths presumably as a vote buying strategy.

The matter is now before the courts and operations were suspended following a court order.

Zanu PF politicians, among them, former Mbizo legislator Vongai Mupereri, have defied the courts and allowed party youths to mass on the property.

Police are seen as too powerless to deal with the illegality.

The turf wars would start at Gaika but then spread to Kwekwe's residential areas and surrounding places such as Rutendo, Redcliff and Torwood.

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