Two artisanal miners died in Mbizo, Kwekwe Tuesday after an illegal gold mine they were prospecting collapsed on them.
Another miner, who survived the collapse, was rushed to Kwekwe General Hospital but escaped before he could be treated.
Police confirmed the incident saying five illegal miners Monday night entered the illegal mine and started to prospect for gold in Mbizo 15, a high-density suburb in gold-rich Kwekwe city.
“We can confirm the death of two artisanal miners who were prospecting for gold in Mbizo 15. We understand one was injured and was referred to Kwekwe General Hospital where we have gathered that he escaped before receiving treatment,” Midlands Police provincial spokesperson Joel Goko said.
A local resident told NewZimbabwe.com other panners tried to rescue their colleagues after the collapse, but they managed to escape the scene before the arrival of the police.
“We were shocked to wake up and find two people dead after the shaft they were working on had collapsed. We saw two artisanal miners pulling out their dead colleagues. After they finally pulled out the one who had been injured they then fled from the scene before the police had arrived,” a source said.
A Kwekwe-based human rights activist Nkosilathi Moyo said it was shocking people had been reduced to such levels of desperation for survival.
“It’s shocking to see people being reduced to such levels of desperation and prospecting for gold in residential areas. The main reason is that people are starving in their homes, and the only viable option is to prospect for gold. We are calling on the government to assist the vulnerable by providing safety nets so that we will not have such needless loss of lives,” Moyo said.