Zimbabwe struggles to save trapped miners as flood halts rescue

Mining Accident Alert

Hope is fading by the day for 40 informal gold miners trapped in a collapsed mine in Zimbabwe for more than 48 hours ago after rescue operations were stalled due to flooding.

The disused mine collapsed late on Wednesday in Bindura town, about 70km (43 miles) north of the capital, Harare, after uncontrolled blasting by informal miners keen on making quick cash in the economically troubled southern African country.

Wellington Takavarasha, the head of Zimbabwe Miners Federation, which represents small scale miners in the country, told Al Jazeera the mine was still flooded, but held out hope for the trapped miners.

“Nothing much has changed on the ground. We are currently dewatering the mine because it is flooded so that rescue operations can resume. The ground is too wet right now and that makes rescue operations dangerous,” he said.

“This is an underground mine so I think the miners could have sought safety in any one of the tunnels. But the mine is flooded.”

Takavarasha said the miners were working at the Ran Gold Mine when a shaft gave in. He said illegal miners use explosives to access rich gold belts.

He added that the number of those trapped underground could be higher because informal miners do not keep a tally of people operating in the mines they occupy.

So far, only six miners have been rescued from the debris and are recovering at a hospital.

Just last week, 10 illegal gold miners were buried alive at Premier Estate, located in the eastern part of the country, when the owners of the mine commenced reclamation – a process of restoring mined land to a natural or economically usable state.

Courtesy of aljazeera.com

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