Hope of finding alive five illegal miners trapped underground after a shaft collapsed at Task Mine in Chegutu are beginning to fade as over seven days have gone by since rescue operations began.
Mines and Mining Development Minister Hon Winston Chitando has had to take time to visit the site to assess the ongoing rescue operations.
The collapse of the mine was allegedly triggered by a weak surface due to unregulated shaft sinking with too many shafts close together.
“Shafts are almost 10 meters close to each other instead of the recommended 30 meters and the miners are using ropes where the shaft is even 100meters deep instead of limiting the use of ropes to just 30meters, so this increase later the risk of collapse,” he said.
The fate of the five miners remains unknown but Mines and Mining Development Minister, Honourable Chitando promised to expedite rescue operations.
“We are hopeful that the miners are still alive and will provide the necessary support to ensure the success of those rescue operations,” he said.
Mashonaland West acting police spokesperson, Assistant Inspector Ian Kohwera confirmed a rescue mission involving a multi-sectoral team had, up to this week Tuesday, failed to make meaningful headway towards rescuing the trapped miners, let alone finding them alive.
“The rescue efforts are still in progress but up to now, none of the trapped miners has been rescued,” said Kohwera Tuesday.
The incident happened at Task Mine in Chegutu at around 4:30pm.
Zimbabwe Mining Federation President Henrietta Rushwaya appealed for government to mechanise mining operations of small-scale players to reduce the prevalence of accidents.
“We need what is happening in the agricultural to also take place in mining where farmers are being equipped. Our own miners need equipment so that they conduct operations safely,” she said.
The small-scale mining sector has been rocked by safety issues with over ten people have lost their lives at Battlefields Mine in Kadoma last year.