By Takunda Maodza
Hundreds of illegal gold panners have reportedly besieged a gold mine in Kwekwe amid indications 63kg of the mineral worth $2.6 million were mined in three days.
Dandrum Mine, which is located in Summerview, Zhombe, belongs to Mr Milton Marufu, who has since been kicked out of the claim.
Mr Marufu was allocated the claim on December 13, 2013 with licence number 023960AA.
“On Saturday, 47kg of gold were mined at Dandrum, 12kg on Sunday and four kilogrammes on Monday,” said a source.
“This means 63kg were mined at Dandrum in three days.”
There is now heavy machinery on site.
The provincial mines director for Midlands Province only identified as Mr Mazemo said he was not sure if there was still a gold rush at Dandrum Mine.
“I am not sure if there is still a gold rush at the moment. It was there two weeks ago. I cannot give you more information as I am in a meeting,” he said.
Mr Mazemo said he was not aware that the matter has since been reported to the Anti-Corruption Commission.
A source at Fidelity Printers confirmed the rich gold deposits at Dandrum Mine.
“The rock at Dandrum Mine has more gold than waste. Recently, they deposited 52kg of gold with us mined in a space of a week,” said the source.
“On Saturday they deposited with Fidelity Printers 47kg, 12kg on Sunday and four (kilogrammes) on Monday. The quality of the ore is very high, but because of dispute, there is no proper mining happening at the mine.”
There is dispute over ownership of the mine after Mr Marufu was booted out of the claim by a company called Vansburg Drumgold Enterprises fronted by one Shepherd Tundiya.
Mr Marufu on Monday wrote to Fidelity Printers Kwekwe imploring them to withhold payment to Vansburg Drumgold Enterprises.
Through his lawyers Garikayi and Company, he said:
“We request that you hold any money due to Vansburg Drumgold Enterprises until further notice from Ministry of Mines and Anti-Corruption Commission who are currently seized with investigation of documentation used by Vansburg Drumgold Enterprises to carry out mining operations, which is strongly suspected to be fraudulent.”
Mr Mazemo, who stands accused by Mr Marufu of deliberately causing the ownership wrangle at Dandrum Mine for the benefit of Vansburg Drumgold, on Monday wrote to the company ordering them to stop operations.
In a letter to Vansburg Drumgold, Mr Mazemo said: “You are hereby requested to bring forth certificates of registration and other documents issued to you by this office. By copy of this letter, the Provincial Co-ordinator Minerals and Border Control Unit Minerals is hereby requested to stop all mining operations in the area you have been granted mining titles, pending assessments by this office on a date to be advised.”
Mr Marufu refused to comment over the matter yesterday, but Mr Tundiya confirmed there was a wrangle at the mine.
He said when he was allocated the claim it belonged to no one.
“We operated there for a few days and stopped. We were sending our gold to Fidelity Printers, but now there are illegal gold panners who are mining and diverting the gold to the black market,” he said. He confirmed that at one point they mined 47kg of gold.
But as reported by the weekly Standard newspaper “top Zanu PF members close to Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa have been accused of fuelling the mine wrangle as they allegedly use the Midlands’ political godfather’s name to try and push out the owner.”
“Mnangagwa’s top ally July Moyo, Zanu PF Midlands provincial spokesperson Cornelius Mupereri and Gokwe-Kana legislator Owen Ncube, are accused of interfering in the operations of Dundrum North Mine in Zhombe.
The gold-rich mine belongs to Milton Marufu, but the three have allegedly been backing Shephard Tundiya to take over the claim, accusing the owner of being a G40 member because he shares the same surname with First Lady Grace Mugabe.
Sources close to the dispute said Tundiya, who was allegedly working with a principal director in Mnangagwa’s office, Douglas Tapfumanei, assistance from acting provincial mining director identified as Makuza, secured a licence for the same claim Marufu also has a licence for.” The Herald/The Standard