BY KENNETH NYANGANI ZANU PF politburo member Patrick Chinamasa has threatened that the government will seize Redwing Mine in Penhalonga, accusing the owners of failing to run it.
Launching a Zanu PF by-election campaign for Mutasa South constituency on Sunday, Chinamasa said the mine would be given to artisanal miners.
The party’s Misheck Mugadza will stand against Regai Tsunga of the Citizens Coalition for Change in the March 26 polls.
“It is not our problem as government about what is happening at the mine, but it is the problem of the investor. When I am back in Harare, I am going to approach President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the Ministry of Finance so that we can buy and take over the mine by the end of the year,” Chinamasa said.
“The government will then engage illegal miners because we want orderly mining here in Penhalonga.”
About two weeks ago, over 200 Redwing workers demonstrated against attempts by the judicial management to reinstate Betterbrands Mining Company (BMC) under unclear circumstances.
The workers said they preferred Metallon Gold while resisting efforts by the interim corporate rescue practitioner Knowledge Hofisi to impose BMC mining company.
Centre for Research and Development director James Mupfumi yesterday said Chinamasa was grandstanding.
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“How do you say the government wants to take over when it is the same government which is allowing gold barons to invade the same Redwing Mine?” he asked.
“We want Parliament to summon Redwing and investigate the issue of gold leakages because the companies which have been operating there are behind the leakages, it has been since 2018 whereby dubious companies have been operating at the Redwing Mine.”
Redwing legal adviser Reynos Gumbo appointed a workers committee led by Peter Zheke which reportedly granted Betterbrands exclusive rights to mine.
Redwing workers turned the heat against Zheke, whom they say has been compromised and has since been fired from the committee.
The workers are demanding the removal of the company from a corporate rescue plan, saying the investors have failed to meet their demands.
Initially, a tributary agreement was signed between Prime Royal and Redwing in 2018, to empower the local youths before operations were stopped for failure to produce an environmental impact assessment.
Betterbrands led by Scot Sakupwanya took over operations until November 2021, when the tributary mining operations were halted.
- Follow Kenneth on Twitter @KennethNyangan1