By Simbarashe Sithole
NINE illegal gold panners died on Sunday evening, while two were seriously injured in an explosion at Jumbo Mine, Mazowe, Mashonaland Central after a syndicate failed to communicate that it was detonating explosives underground.
Acting Mashonaland Central police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Petros Masikati confirmed the incident.
“I can confirm that eight people died in a blast at Mazowe Mine and two others are currently admitted at Concession Hospital and are in a critical condition, one of the miners escaped unhurt,” Masikati said.
A ninth later died.
“Investigations are underway and we have our officers on the ground right now, so far we have managed to identify four bodies and we are still withholding their names until their next of kin are advised.”
Metallon confirmed the incident.
“Metallon Corporation regrets to advise that on Sunday May 26, 2019, a fatal incident occurred at Mazowe Mine, a mine which is closed and on care and maintenance,” the miner said in a statement.
“Illegal panners invaded the mine and took part in unlawful explosive blasting.
“Tragically, nine panners lost their lives. None of these miners were employees of Metallon and all those involved with keeping the mine on care and maintenance have been accounted for. The investigation is on-going and Metallon will provide further updates as necessary.”
Mazowe Metallon Gold Mine rescue team managed to retrieve all the bodies by yesterday morning.
A witness, Gift Zororo told NewsDay that: “These guys were 11 when they entered the mine and were coming from level 2 and when they were at level 9 another team blew their explosive without informing them which is a rare incident here at Jumbo. Teams usually communicate, but unfortunately, eight people died on the spot while two were seriously injured and taken to hospital.”