By Fungai Lupande
Police here have named three people who are among eight illegal gold miners who died when an explosive went off at Metallon Gold’s Jumbo Mine on Sunday evening.
They are James Fulakezi (28) of Mazowe Mine, Mbwana Juma (28) of Chegutu and Zorodza Maganga (29) of Mahuhwe, Mbire district.
Mash Central police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Petros Masikati said the bodies of the three have since been collected by their relatives while the names of the remaining five will be released after their next of kin have been informed.
Meanwhile, Mines and Mining Development Deputy Minister Polite Kambura yesterday expressed disappointment at Metallon Gold following the death of eight illegal gold miners at its Jumbo Mine in Mazowe after it emerged that unpaid mine workers are leading illegal gold miners underground.
Speaking at the mine, Kambamura said Metallon Gold has failed to live up to standard and expectations from an investor and Government will take immediate measures to curb the continuous loss of life at Jumbo Mine.
“Jumbo Mine has been under care and maintenance since 2017 but the unfortunate scenario is that employees have gone for more than two years without salaries.
“Resultantly many of them have resorted to illegal gold mining,” said Kambamura.
“From January this year we have experienced 16 fatalities at this mine, from May 17 to date we have experienced 12 fatalities and now we have this tragedy. Eleven illegal gold miner went underground and came across another team which was doing secondary blasting.
“They called for permission to enter and got no response. Anticipating that everything was alright they proceeded and passed through a charged area, an explosive went off.
“It unfortunate that owners at this mine have failed to live up to standard and expectation of an investor. We had similar occurrences at Shamva Mine two months ago and two fatalities of people shot underground, running battles with mine security.”
Minister of State for Mash Central Provincial Affairs Senator Monica Mavhunga encouraged people in the province to stop engaging in illegal mining activities especially in disused mining shafts.
Metallon Gold’s Gumbo Mine manager Mr Stanley Matunhire said things at the mine are now normal following the retrieval of the bodies.
He added that the police has started patrolling the mine and surrounding areas. The Herald