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Panner dies in collapsed shaft


A 41-year-old illegal gold panner died after he was trapped in a collapsed five-metre-deep disused mining shaft along the gold-rich Mutare River early this week.

Fungai Makombe of Takuma village in Nyazura went to the disused shaft on Monday in the company of his 17-year-old son and entered the pit which collapsed and trapped him inside.

Police confirmed the incident and advised people to formalise their operations as the countrys laws allow for registration of small-scale miners.

We are discouraging at all costs illegal panning. Gold panning is dangerous to the people and environment. Police are actually in the process of flashing out all illegal panners, said Chishiri.

Acting police spokesperson for Manicaland Assistant Inspector Enock Chishiri said Makombe went to Kendo Farm along Mutare River with his son, intending to pan for gold.

Makombe, who was off-duty, was employed at Pillaton Construction Company at Arda Transau. At Mutare River, he joined other illegal panners who were also digging for the precious mineral.

However, when he entered the shaft, the walls collapsed and he was trapped inside and died.
His body was retrieved by other illegal panners who notified the police of the incident.

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