The Zimbabwe Mines Minister stated that the earth is so unstable that cracks have formed and the ground has begun to curve in numerous locations on the surface.
Harare, Zimbabwe – The rescue effort at the collapsed Redwing Mine near the eastern city of Mutare, in Zimbabwe, has been halted due to unstable ground, according to Zimbabwe’s Minister of Mines, Soda Zhemu.
After the mine shaft collapsed, at least 11 miners were left trapped 20 metres below the surface.
The catastrophe happened on January 4 between 0500 and 0600 hours, and its cause is considered to be an earth tremor whose source is still unknown.
Minister Soda claims that because some miners may have removed support pillars beneath, the ground is still bending in, making rescue efforts more difficult.
“The Rescue team of Metallon Gold at Redwing Mine together with Inspectors from our Provincial Office went underground around 0900am 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,” Soda said.
According to Soda, the ground is so unstable such that cracks have developed and curving in of the ground has been noticed in various places on the surface.
“Of concern is the fact that the ground at this place is visibly cracking and subsiding and therefore is unsafe. They will resume rescue activities tomorrow morning (January 5),” he added.
Recently, Zimbabwe has seen a rise in mining accidents, particularly at gold mines that are home to illegal miners.
Lawlessness is pervasive in these gold mining mines, despite the government’s appeal for safe mining practices, according to multiple sources.
Metallon Gold Redwing, located in Penhalonga, 50 west of Mutare, the eastern border city, has been the focal point of a dispute over ownership.
Pedzai Scott Sakupwanya, a businessman and legislator from Mabvuku-Tafara, is reportedly the current owner of the mine.
Minister Soda clarified, however, that Metallon Gold Redwing has been distributing mining areas at Redwing to private citizens.
“The shaft that collapsed was under some individuals and the people trapped were workers of the tribute. Management of tributed areas falls under the principal owner, Metallon Gold in this case.
Therefore, The Rescue team from Metallon has been leading in the rescue effort supported by Ministry of Mines and other stakeholders including ZRP and Civil Protection,” he said