Efforts to rescue artisanal miners that as of yesterday were trapped underground at Ran Mine in Bindula in Mashonaland Central Province have begun after heavy equipment and mining experts arrived at the scene, the Chronicle reports.
The Mines and Minerals Minister Winston Chitando visited the site yesterday and said the rescuers do not have a timeframe of when they will be able to reach the miners because they first have to assess the site and how best they can carry out the rescue mission.
Speaking after touring the scene with his deputy Polite Kambamura and the Minister of State for Mashonaland Central Provincial Affairs and Devolution Senator Monica Mavhunga, Chitando said:
There was a collapse of the shafts late yesterday following a suspected blast of a support pillar because this is a disused shaft and there are some miners who got into the shaft illegally and we suspect that this has probably been happening for a long period of time and once inside they blasted one of the support pillars which is flooded up to knee level and when they blasted that support pillar the roof of the shaft gave in.
What we want to say first and foremost as Government is to encourage all mining activities to be undertaken in accordance with the law, that is the most important thing. All miners should undertake their activities in accordance with the law in a safe manner, that’s the first thing.
The second thing is obviously as government we spoke about the concept of orderly mining around September. We will be reinforcing orderly mining principles as we move on to ensure that there is inspection to try and limit mining activities which are not done in accordance with the provision.
The local Civil Protection Unit is reportedly on the ground liaising with other local miners on how they can help rescue the trapped miners. The shaft collapsed after blasting of one of the pillars in the flooded area which resulted in the roof of the shaft collapsing.