TWO illegal gold panners died after a shaft they were working in collapsed and buried them at a mine in West Nicholson.
Matabeleland South provincial police spokesperson Inspector Loveness Mangena confirmed the incident which occurred last Thursday at Mavula Mine at around 4AM.
She said Alfred Ncube (29) and Kenneth Moyo (22) and two counterparts were panning for gold when the incident occurred. She said the pair went down the shaft while their counterparts remained at the top.
“I can confirm that we recorded a sudden death case where two illegal gold panners died after a shaft they were working in collapsed. Alfred Ncube and Kenneth Moyo were working in a 15-metre-deep shaft at Mavula Panning Site in West Nicholson when the shaft collapsed and buried them underneath.
“The matter was reported to the police who attended the scene and the bodies of the two men were retrieved. They were taken to the Gwanda Provincial Hospital Mortuary,” she said.
Insp Mangena urged members of the public to desist from engaging in illegal panning activities as they were putting their lives in danger in addition to violating the law.
She said people that wanted to engage in mining activities must formalise their operations and follow the correct procedures to acquire necessary paper work before operating.
“It’s sad that we continue to record a number of mine accidents as a result of llegal mining activities which are rampant in the province. If people want to engage in mining they should formalise their operations. By engaging in illegal mining they will not only be committing an offence but they will also be putting their lives at risk as they will be operating without necessary equipment and protective clothing.
“Some of these illegal miners operate in the early hours of the morning in order to evade police not knowing that they will be risking their lives,” she said.
Insp Mangena urged mine owners and managers to ensure that their workers had necessary protective clothing and that they were working in a safe environment.
She also urged miners to stay away from disused or abandoned shafts as they were a life threat. – Chronicle