Rescue efforts for six trapped miners at Mandlovhukazi mine in Esigodini have been disrupted by heavy rains that occurred during the weekend leaving family members of the miners devastated.
Speaking to Great Dyke News 24, Zimbabwe Diamond and Allied Mineral Workers Union (ZIDAMWU) Matabeleland South Coordinator Chrispen Zingwena said they suspect that the miners who were trapped last week are dead hence rescue efforts are focusing on retrieving their bodies for a proper burial.
“We are receiving heavy downpours here in Esigodini and we are fearing that must be a hindering factor for the rescue of our six comrades who were trapped underground at Mandlovhukazi mine in Esigodini.
“There are so many rains which are making the roads slippery, but villagers, friends, and families of the comrades are putting more effort to make sure that they retrieve the bodies from the mine for proper burial,” he said.
Meanwhile, dozens are feared dead after being trapped underground after an abandoned gold mine collapsed in Bindura last Thursday.
Six men emerged alive after the collapse while the body of one man has been retrieved and one person died in the rescue attempt.
Rescue efforts failed to start until Friday after the generator used to drain the 100-meter deep mine shaft jammed and another had to be found, authorities say.
The accidents expose lack of adequate implementation of disaster and emergency preparedness measures in the mining sector.
It appears no one in the mining sector, including Government and the mining industry is learning anything from past mistakes, experiences and disasters.
In February 2019 another disaster happened at Battlefields which killed 24 miners. However, during that disaster there were combined efforts from different actors and stakeholders to rescue those who were trapped,and this took a record four days.
The efforts were complimented by corporate social efforts from large scale mining companies who included ZIMPLATS, RioZim and Afrochine smelting company.
Mining is a leading source of foreign currency for Zimbabwe, where gold accounts for 60% of exports.
The gold sector provides work for nearly 10% of the country’s population, according to the International Crisis Group (ICG).