Efforts to rescue more than 10 miners that were trapped in a disused mine shaft at Ran Mine in Bindura on Wednesday started in earnest yesterday following the arrival of mine experts and heavy equipment.
By yesterday, part of the roof was still giving in as some dust could be noticed in areas which were still collapsing.
At least four people that were injured in the accident have been hospitalised.
The collapse was triggered by the blasting of a support pillar in an area, which was flooded, resulting in the roof of the shaft giving in.
Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando, who visited the mine yesterday with his deputy Polite Kambamura and the Minister of State for Mashonaland Central Provincial Affairs and Devolution Senator Monica Mavhunga, said the first challenge was to dewater the area so that they could see how best to get to the trapped miners.
He said it was difficult to give specific time frames since they needed to determine the best way of accessing the shaft.
“There was a collapse of the shafts late yesterday following a suspected blast of a support pillar because this is a disused shaft and there are some miners who got into the shaft illegally and we suspect that this has probably been happening for a long period of time and once inside they blasted one of the support pillars which is flooded up to knee level and when they blasted that support pillar the roof of the shaft gave in,” said Minister Chitando.
“What we want to say first and foremost as Government is to encourage all mining activities to be undertaken in accordance with the law, that is the most important thing. All miners should undertake their activities in accordance with the law in a safe manner, that’s the first thing.
“The second thing is obviously as government we spoke about the concept of orderly mining around September. We will be reinforcing orderly mining principles as we move on to ensure that there is inspection to try and limit mining activities which are not done in accordance with the provision.”
Minister Chitando said Government will soon move in to ensure that all mining activities were undertaken in accordance with the law in a safe manner, to avoid future disasters and loss of life.
Senator Mavhunga said Government was doing all it could to mobilise resources and technical expertise to rescue the trapped miners.
She said the District Civil Protection Unit was already on the ground liaising with local mining firms to assist in the rescue mission.
Senator Mavhunga said Government had already secured diesel to be used in the rescue operation and called on those with information on the miners who could still be trapped to come forward and assist with the rescue mission. The Chronicle