At least four artisanal miners were killed at the disputed Eldorado gold mine in a space of four weeks with the latest casualties buried last week. The mine is situated in Zvimba North, Mashonaland West Province.
BY NUNURAI JENA
The bodies of Selestino Sibanda of Kadoma and Jabulani Ndlovu of Bulawayo were discovered last week after the mine collapsed at different times and days.
Eldorado mine was placed under the judicial management of lawyer Jonathan Samkange following an ownership dispute between Chinese nationals.
Samkange said despite many reports to the police to remove the artisanal miners from the mine the police were reluctant to act.
“The problem is the police who are failing to act after telling them on numerous occasions…why they are not doing anything when people are dying we don’t know,” he said.
Eldorado general manager Gerald Sairon confirmed the deaths.
“The area where people are dying is part of the mine that was invaded by Zanu PF youth some months ago,” he said.
“Makorokoza (artisanal miners) are dying. So far, we have four on record who died and many are being injured,” he said.
“The area they are mining is dangerous because no one is enforcing safety rules.”
Eldorado mine chief security officer Freddy Mbwedza said his team was brutally attacked by Zanu PF youth who took over part of the mine.
“A day before the youth invaded part of the mine they beat us up, maybe as a way of intimidating us,” said Mbwedza
Sources said the Zanu PF youth invaded part of Eldorado mine with the blessings of ruling party bigwigs.
Zanu PF secretary for administration Ignatious Chombo addressed the youth last month and told them not to fear any arrests.
Efforts to get Chombo’s comment were fruitless yesterday.
Eldorado mine is in the Home Affairs minister’s constituency of Zvimba North.
Following the death of artisanal miners Chinhoyi police arrested 39 Zanu PF youth but due to political pressure the culprits were released are back at the mine.
Mining expert George Mugani said there was need to follow basic safety rules when mining to avoid loss of lives.