By Leopold Munhende
POLICE officers protecting Ran Mine in Bindura where over 30 artisanal miners were recently trapped under, are allegedly charging US$10 per night from illegal miners intending to pan for gold at the collapsed shaft, NewZimbabwe.com has learnt.
According to sources in the illegal and risky mining at the site, this is being carried out between 11 pm and 5 am.
An estimated 30 artisanal miners are still trapped underground as rescue efforts have been stopped as the shaft is not stable due to the incessant rains being experienced across the country.
The miners were trapped last month and police officers have been placed at the mine to guard the site around the clock.
However, according sources, at least 20 miners per every night are making their way to Ran Mine where they bribe police officers to gain entry.
“I was at the shaft last night, people are already mining there, everything is back to normal,” the source who only once to be identified as Reason, said.
“Some of the artisanal miners are actually blasting right in the middle of the shaft where we suspect the others were trapped. We are being charged US$10 per night by the police officers.
“The boulders which people initially feared seem to have stabilised hence the large numbers getting in. There were actually rumours someone had picked up a large chunk of gold recently.”
The miners were trapped underground last month after one of them is suspected to have blasted a pillar balancing the whole mine.
One of the boulders struck and killed a member of the rescue team leading to unending vigils at the site with no action, however, from the rescue team.
Added Reason: “Where there is blood there is money, and we cannot just sit around while our families starve. How would I take care of my wife, kid and mother if I do not get into the shafts? I have no option, remember Zimbabwe has no jobs.”