Govt orders rescue work at collapsed Bindura mine to stop

GOVERNMENT Chief Engineer Michael Munodawafa said rescue operations had stopped at the collapsed Ran Gold mine in Bindura where an estimated 40 artisanal miners are trapped.

Only one body has been retrieved so far and there were fears more lives could be lost as the tunnel continued to collapse.

“The area where we pumped out water collapsed and we are trying to find a better way of dealing with the situation due to the instability of the ground,” he said.

“This is an old mine and at the bottom there is a deep void filled with water, in mining we call it an open stope. When the initial collapse happened, that is why water came up instead going down.

“De-watering of the tunnel released pressure and contributed to the continuous collapse.”

Local Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo who visited Ran Mine on Saturday, said search and rescue of the trapped had become difficult and Government will take a relief approach.

“This tragedy was attended by several ministries, including the technical ministry of Mines and Mining Development, engineers, provincial and national civil protection unit,” he said.

“Our first mode of operation is to search and rescue. We lost one volunteer and we retrieved one person. The situation has gone worse because of the incessant rains and the ground has become sensitive and it is collapsing.

“Some of the families are here and we might move into the relief situation. We must move into the relief approach which include psycho-social understanding of what has happened and work with the families.”

Meanwhile, Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando said Government will soon move in to ensure that all mining activities were undertaken in accordance with the law in a safe manner.

This comes after a number of mine disasters have occurred in the past year because of illegal mining. ■

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