Redwing Mine in Penhalonga, which is being run by ZANU PF benefactor and prominent gold dealer Pedzisai Scott Sakupwanya, has temporarily been closed by the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) following reports of deaths of scores of artisanal miners.
Sakupwanya through his company Better Brands Mining has for some time, been defying EMA’s directive to stop operations until some civic groups threatened to demonstrate at the mine.
Three civic groups, that is Centre for Research and Development (CRD), Ziva Community Empowerment Trust, and Penhalonga Youth Development Ratepayers Trust, issued a joint statement on Sunday, 22 January.
In the statement, the groups claimed that 100 artisanal have died at Sakupwanya’s mine since 2020.
In a letter dated 20 January 2023, Better Brands said it was suspending operations in compliance with EMA’s directives. It reads:
Better Brands hereby advises its valued stakeholders that all surface mining operations shall be suspended with immediate effect due to the concerns about the increased number of fatalities, and environmental degradation.
Better Brands Mining shall take this opportunity to restructure and rehabilitate the mining field in preparation for the resumption of surface and underground mining.
CRD director James Mupfumi, however, questioned Better Brands’ sincerity in addressing the issues raised by EMA. He said:
It is a temporary ban meant to fool the country from demanding accountability.
It has happened twice with lies on promises to return to safe mining practices.
We are approaching the government and Parliament to summon Better Brands.
Mupfumi said if the government fails to address their grievances, they will approach the United Nations (UN) for redress. | NewsDay