‘No immediate danger to houses on Beitbridge mine tunnels’

By Rex Mphisa

THE Beitbridge Municipality says there is no immediate danger to human life or collapse of houses in Dulivhadzimo as a result of collapsing disused mine tunnels, but says it will close the tunnels following recommendations from the Mines ministry.

Beitbridge town clerk Loud Ramakgapola told NewsDay that a team from the ministry had been despatched to examine the tunnels and offer advise on how to address the problem.

“The issue is receiving attention and recommendations have now been made. Next month, which is just around the corner, we will start working on what has been advised professionally,” he said.

At least a dozen houses in the HaMbedzi section of Dulivhadzimo have been built above tunnels of what is now known as the site of Pub Copper Mine.

An official of the Mines ministry in Gwanda, Kumbulani Mlangeni, referred all questions to Ramakgapola yesterday.

“We formally gave them something in writing. I am not running away from you, but I am not sure where I stand in terms of talking to the Press … ask the town clerk at Beitbridge to give you what we gave them in writing,” he said.

“The office will update the report as more information is obtained from the Masvingo office, which may have some plans of the area,” the document given to the council reads.

“The stands are located within Pub Copper Mine, which was worked in the early 1970s.

“It is suspected that subsidence is around the collar of a 220 dip incline shaft that was mined along the NE-SW direction to a depth of 67m along incline, according to
historical records. The shaft cross section is not likely to have been more than 2m by 2m, considering the general mine opening sizes at that

The report said short drives were done either side of the shaft towards the bottom, within a dolerite dyke and there was no mention that these ever reached the mineral.

“There is no documentation of mineral extraction and, hence, it can be deduced that the mining was just an exploratory development in waste and no void was created for mineral
extraction,” the document explained in depth.

It is suspected that the depth of the mine was about 25m, although some of the tunnels could stretch to as far as 62m.

The experts said safety would be guaranteed by the 15m extraction and boulder or concrete backfill due to the “ground competence” and incline.

“Backfill material flow is not likely to reach shaft bottom unless it is fine material in liquid form. That is why after rains, the backfill is washed farther down the incline
and hence subsidence,” the report, seen by the NewsDay Weekender, reads.


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