Mutare: Gold panner dies at Russian mine
AN illegal gold panner was, Wednesday, trapped and died while mining at the Russian-owned DTZ-OZGEO concession in Penhalonga, near Mutare.
Police said the incident occurred at around 1420 hrs, adding that such tragedies were on the increase in the area due to high levels of unemployment.
The mine was shut down by the government in 2014, resulting in dozens of illegal panners taking advantage of the withdrawal of security services by the owners.
The deceased, Onias Njerere, 34, of Tsvingwe township went to the mine in the company of one Obert Mupebvu, aged 45.
Njerere reportedly jumped into a disused shaft and started working but the walls were weak and collapsed, trapping him.
Mupebvu called other gold panners who assisted in retrieving Njerere but he was already dead.
The panners informed the deceased wife Esther Basera, 28, who reported the matter to the police.
ZRP spokesperson, Inspector Tavhiringwa Kakohwa said such cases were on the increase in the province, particularly Chimanimani and Mutare.
“As police, we urge the illegal panners to approach relevant authorities and get permits to operate legally.
“They should not risk their lives by entering uninspected shafts,” said Kakohwa.
Government, through Environmental Management Agency (EMA), ordered the closure of all alluvial gold mines across the country in 2014, rendering close to 500 workers at the Russian mine jobless.