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Small Scale MinersNews

Gold Rush at Lonely Mine

By Own Correspondent – Thursday 26 September 2019

BULAWAYO (Mining Index) – THE recent gold rush in Bubi which left a family of five homeless is one of the predominant cases in Zimbabwe’s artisanal mining sector.

An estimated 3 000 illegal gold panners last week descended on Lonely Mine and surrounding areas digging in open fields and beneath houses in search of the yellow metal.

Lonely Mine was the largest single gold producer in Bubi until its closure in the mid-1990s. Situated in Matabeleland North Province, Bubi is a low-grade deposit, averaging a paltry 1g/ton from the oxide ore and less than 3g/ton from the more costly refractory sulphide ore.

Picture Source – Mukasiri Sibanda

Ncube (above dressed in overall work suit), said his huts were burnt down by artisanal miners during the gold rush near Lonely Mine in Bubi and forced to relocate his wife and three daughters. He is back at the ruins of his homestead after seeking police protection.

Ncube is scared that a number of people have come claiming the place without talking to him, he is afraid of involuntary displacement without compensation.

It has also been noted that whilst use of child labour is minimal when gold rushes occur, the negative impact on school attendance is a major cause of concern, parents neglecting their children.

A provision of $310 million was allocated for local service delivery in line with devolution in the 2019 National Budget Statement and some schools are not aware of how funding can improve access to quality education.

Picture Source – Mukasiri Sibanda

Out of the 34 tonnes produced in 2018, the ASM sector produced 22 tonnes of gold, constituting 65 percent of the overall gold deliveries as recorded at Fidelity Printers and Refiners (FPR) but the story is different when it comes to education, where Grade 7 pass rate for this school is 27 percent.

Picture Source – Mukasiri Sibanda

While alcohol and substance abuse is also prevalent among artisanal miners, violence, environmental degradation and disease outbreaks due to lack of sanitation facilities are some of the effects of illegal gold mining activities. ENDS//


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