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Thursday, May 30, 2024

More than 10 miners feared dead after mine shaft collapse in Penhalonga

Story by Kenias Chivuzhe

MORE than 10 miners are feared dead after the collapse of a mine shaft at Redwing Mine in Penhalonga this Thursday morning.

A sombre atmosphere has engulfed the mining area, with fellow miners narrating what transpired at the Metalon Gold-operated mine shift, while friends and relatives of the trapped miners lamented delays in conducting rescue operations.

“The shaft collapsed in the morning as we were working in another shaft next to the one which collapsed. We suspect that there are 15 people trapped in the mine but we are worried that the authorities have stopped rescue operations. They say they will start tomorrow morning thereby risking the lives of those trapped underground.

“I have two relatives trapped underground and I am not happy with the speed to rescue them. The mine authorities should act with urgency to rescue the trapped people. We need permission to conduct rescue operations if they are afraid to do so,” said community members.

Mine officials refused to comment saying they do not have the authority to speak to the media.

Manicaland Acting Director Local Government Services Mr John Misi explained the scope of the rescue mission and the challenges encountered.

“We have been told by company authorities that about 11 people have been trapped underground. They say the mine shaft collapsed as a result of earth tremors. Rescue operations have been stopped to ensure the tremors stop. We anticipate that the rescue operations will start Friday morning.

Mines and Mining Development Minister Honourable Zhemu Soda also gave an update on current rescue efforts at the mine.

“The Rescue team of Metallon Gold at Redwing Mine together with Inspectors from our Provincial Office went underground around 0900hrs attempting to rescue and had to retreat after noticing the ground still carving in. The team tried again around 1200hrs and noticed that the ground had collapsed more.

“Of concern is the fact that the ground at this place is visibly cracking and subsiding and therefore is unsafe. Teams will resume rescue activities tomorrow morning as
we maintain strong hope that these efforts will bear fruit.”

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