"Zimbabwe: Government Confirms Safe Rescue of All 15 Trapped Miners"

South African mining magnate Mzi Khumalo’s Metallon Corporation announced this week its intention to formalize operations at its Redwing Mine in Zimbabwe, following the rescue of 15 suspected “zama zamas” from a collapsed shaft.

However, Zimbabwe’s government refuted claims that the trapped miners were illegal miners, known as “zama zamas,” asserting that they were employees of Metallon Gold.

Acting Local Government Minister July Moyo clarified, “For the avoidance of doubt and contrary to some unsubstantiated reports circulating on social media platforms, the trapped miners are employees of Metallon Gold.”

Redwing Mine, located in the Penhalonga area of Manicaland province, is owned by the United Kingdom-registered King’s Daughter Mining Company Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Metallon Corporation.

In 2020, the mine was placed under corporate rescue by Zimbabwe’s High Court due to financial challenges, which resulted in a chaotic situation involving Prime Royal Mining (PRM), a local company that engaged over a thousand artisanal miners. During this period, a ruling party legislator, Scott Sakupwanya, through his company Better Brands, laid claim to part of the mine and commenced operations.

Civil society groups reported over a hundred deaths at the mine since 2020, with 26 fatalities recorded in January last year alone. Although the mine was removed from corporate rescue last year, it remained under the control of illegal miners using rudimentary methods.

The recent accident that trapped 15 artisanal miners was the latest in a series of incidents highlighting challenges in the country’s mining sector.

Metallon Corporation stated its intention to revive the mine formally, noting that the Supreme Court had removed it from corporate rescue in 2022. The company aims to end unsafe mining practices and return operations to formalized mining.

Following the incident, the Centre for Natural Resource Governance (CNRG), the National Mine Workers’ Union of Zimbabwe (NMWUZ), and the Zimbabwe Diamond and Allied Minerals Workers’ Union (ZDAMWU) jointly called for a government investigation into the disaster. They raised concerns about safety violations and the prevalence of unauthorized mining activities, urging the government to take action.

Piers Potter


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