Over forty illegal gold miners may have died after getting trapped in a flooded mine on Wednesday. The police and other miners have been struggling to get to the trapped mine located 200 kilometers away from Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare.
Heavy rains rushed waves of water into the deep 100 meter well. Relatives waiting for their loved ones to return home safely lost hope.
Kazius Zvikiti, 94, said two of his sons were missing, “I am old and I was relying on my children for survival. I don’t know how I am going to survive without them.”
The economy of Zimbabwe collapsed in recent years, this forced many people to excavate mines owned by major companies. The work is dangerous and very demanding.
The areas that are rich in gold deposits are on loose ground, rains can easily collapse these mines. Miners usually work at night using torches.
The Centre for Natural Resource Governance, a mining watchdog blamed Zimbabwe’s environment management for their careless attitude on mining regulation.
The families of the trapped miners have been pleading for assistance from the government.
Gold is largest foreign currency earner for the Zimbabwean economy. This makes illegal gold mining attractive for unemployed young people. Mine accidents are frequent in this part of the world.
Illegal gold miners contribute significantly to the Zimbabwean economy, they sell reserves to central banks and private players.