Eleven miners trapped after collapse of Zimbabwe mine

Mine accidents are not uncommon in Zimbabwe where disused mines often attract young unemployed men.

Zimbabwean rescue teams at a mine
Rescue workers busy at work installing a water pump to drain water from a mine shaft to gain access to at least 40 informal gold miners trapped inside a collapsed shaft at Ran Mine in Bindura, November 26, 2020 [Jekesai Njikizana/AFP]

Eleven subsistence mine workers are trapped in an underground shaft after a ground collapse at Zimbabwe’s Redwing Mine, 270 km (167.77 miles) west of the capital Harare, authorities said on Friday.

The incident took place on Thursday morning, with initial assessments pointing to earth tremors as the possible cause of the accident, Zimbabwe’s mines ministry said in a statement.

Metallon Corporation, which owns Redwing Mine, confirmed the incident in a separate statement. The company has deployed a rescue team to bring the trapped miners back to the surface, it added.

“The team has made several rescue attempts. However, the ground remains unstable, rendering rescue operations unsafe. Our teams are diligently assessing ground conditions to make sure the rescue operations proceed safely as soon as possible,” Metallon said.

Mining operations at Redwing have been undertaken by subsistence miners carrying out unsanctioned work since the mine was placed under corporate rescue in 2020, the company said.

Mine accidents are not uncommon in Zimbabwe.

For years, many unemployed young men in Zimbabwe’s gold-rich areas have earned a living by working in unregulated mines with little to no safety procedures. At least nine people died in September after the collapse of Bay Horse Mine, a disused gold mine in Chegutu, about 110km (70 miles) west of Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies