Rejoyce Sibanda, Chronicle Reporter
THE Civil Protection Unit (CPU) has warned artisanal miners against practising unsafe methods of mining during the rainy season as they risk being trapped.
During the rainy season, the ground will be weak and most likely to collapse.
In November 2020, rescue teams tasked to retrieve six miners trapped in a mineshaft in Matshetshe area in Esigodini, had to abandon their mission because the mine was flooded with water, making it too risky to proceed with the operation.
The six miners were never found after the mine they were working in collapsed following heavy rains that had pounded the area.
CPU director Mr Nathan Nkomo said gold panners should be extra cautious in their mining activities and adhere to the correct methods of mining.
He said due to lack of proper training in mining, gold panners are at high risk of being trapped underground during the rainy season.
“Usually, gold panners who conduct mining activities by following a gold belt do not take extra caution when they are underground. Some of them do not care even if they are mining close to a river bank,” said Mr Nkomo.
He said Government has set aside a budget to deal with natural disasters, including incidents were miners get trapped in the course of duty.
“As CPU, we are going to continue educating and raising awareness targeting gold panners about the dangers of mining during the rainy season. During this time of the year, the ground becomes weak making it susceptible to collapsing,” said Mr Nkomo.
The secretary for Mthandazo Women’s Mine, Mrs Mthandazo Ndlovu said negligence is the main cause behind gold panners getting trapped underground.
“Most of these miners that go underground are very young and lack proper training when it comes to safety measures. They should be trained by the safety committee so that they avoid risking their lives,” said Mrs Ndlovu.
She urged gold panners to desist from using traditional methods of mining and adopt the new ones to avoid the risk.
Early this month, a gold panner was trapped for four days at Velocity 36 mine shaft in Silobela after it collapsed.
Another one died while he was mining after an illegal mine shaft collapsed in Woodville Park following a dynamite explosion.
Last month, a gold panner died and four others escaped unhurt after a Bulawayo City Council quarry pit in Parklands suburb collapsed on them while they were illegally mining gold. — @ReeSibanda