By Midlands Correspondent
TWO artisanal miners are feared dead while scores are trapped underground after a shaft at a Kwekwe gold mine collapsed on them Wednesday night.
Globe and Phoenix Mine was forced to close in 2007 after the Ministry of Mines and the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) condemned it.
Artisanal miners are now illegally operating at the mine.
One artisanal miner was rescued and rushed to Kwekwe General Hospital in a critical condition.
Sources at the mine told NewZimbabwe.com that a shaft collapsed Wednesday night, trapping an estimated 20 people and with two feared dead.
“We were working underground at around 10 pm when we suddenly heard noise coming from the other side of the mining shaft. When we went to investigate, we realised it was a boulder which had fallen on our colleagues,” one of the artisanal miners said.
“Although we managed to rescue one person, two of our colleagues had already died. We tried to remove them to no avail as the boulder was very big we couldn’t move it. About 20 more miners are still trapped underground,” he said.
Kwekwe District Civil Protection Unit chairperson and district administrator, Fortune Mupungu, confirmed that the mine had collapsed, but government was yet to ascertain the number of casualties as rescue operations were underway.
“We have gathered that the mine collapsed after a loose boulder gave way when a group of artisanal miners was working in the shafts. Two are feared dead following the mine collapse. We are, however, yet to ascertain the actual numbers as rescue efforts are still ongoing,” he said.