Varsity raises fears over illegal mining activities

BY KENNETH NYANGANI

THE Africa University (AU) has raised concerns over gold panning activities around the institution amid fears that the tunnels extending beneath the university, could cause structural damage to infrastructure.

This was revealed by Mutasa South MP Regai Tsunga at a constituency feedback meeting which was organised by the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (Zimcodd).

The university is located near Redwing Mine, which recently stopped operations after failing to pay workers for several months, among other challenges.

Tsunga said he met the university’s vice-chancellor Munashe Furusa who raised the red flag.

“I met the AU vice-chancellor last week who raised security concerns of illegal gold mining around the university. Furusa said they fear for the students’ welfare and they might get in the crossfire of machete wars and other things,” he said.

“The university is adversely impacted by illegal mining activities around the institution and there are fears that some tunnels are extending beneath the university which can cause structural damages to the university infrastructure.”

The legislator said stakeholders should find solutions to illegal mining, which has seen many people losing limbs or life to machete-wielding artisanal miners.

Tsunga added: “This might affect the university economy in-terms of capacity to get international support from their partners. There is need for an all-stakeholder roundtable in Mutasa to discuss the issue surrounding illegal and artisanal mining in Penhalonga.

“We hope that the illegal mining activities might not further degenerate into chaos. What makes the matter complicated is that illegal mining has become a source of livelihood for many youths, so it is difficult to stop them. It is a no secret that there is no employment for most of the young people in the country and it is something that the government should address with urgency.”

Furusa was not reachable for comment yesterday.

The illegal miners have reportedly been clashing over disused gold claims in Mutasa district.

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