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Two die in Kwekwe mine collapse. What do we know about Globe and Phoenix mine?

By Mining Reporter – Friday 7 February 2020

HARARE (Mining Index) – ONE year after 26 artisanal miners died at a makeshift mine in Battlefields, two illegal miners died yesterday, two others injured while over 20 others are suspected to be trapped underground after a tunnel at Globe and Phoenix Mine (G & P Mine) in Kwekwe collapsed.

Kwekwe is infested with illegal gold miners who operate within proximity of its CBD.

Illegal mining occurring close to Kwekwe Town infrastructure posing a risk to residents and the environment. Picture courtesy of Environmental Management Agency (EMA)

Globe and Phoenix Mine is reported to have terminated operations 13 years ago after an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) revealed its mine shafts, which run under Kwekwe central business district (CBD) were posing danger to the city.

There are several tunnels beneath the city of Kwekwe forming a network with nearby mines.

Previous reports from city engineers assured residents that city buildings are safe, indicating illegal gold panners can only go as deep as levels one and two. Levels three to 46 are covered by underground water and tunnels are also too narrow to cause significant disturbances outside those depths.

The longest tunnel that passes beneath the CBD is 43 km long and 873 metres deep. This depth is level 26 and 27 which way below sea level posing no threat to city buildings.

In recent years, illegal gold panners dug and emerged from under a classroom at Globe and Phoenix Primary School which is about 500 metres from the CBD.

What do we know about Globe and Phoenix Mine?

Globe and Phoenix Mine is a Zimbabwean gold mine located a few hundred metres westwards of Kwekwe’s CBD.

The mine is believed to have one of the world’s richest gold ore. Several other minerals are found at the mine which includes Kermesite, Magnetite, Quartz and Stibnite.

During its palmy days, G& P employed over 400 underground workers.

The original G&P Mine in its lifetime produced over 4.2 million ounces of gold at an average grade of 27.6 grams per tonne.

Head works of the mine still dominate Kwekwe City which was founded from the mine’s compound township, Sebakwe before merging with the then Fort Kwekwe and assuming the name Kwekwe, then spelt Que Que.

The mine was pegged on the site of ancient gold workings in 1894 by prospectors Edward Thornton Pearson and Joseph Schukala. These two men were shown this ancient mining place by a Shona native, whose confidence they bought with only two blankets.

Edward Thornton Pearson pegged the Phoenix reefs which was about 122 metres and followed the quartz down for 38 metres.

Joseph Schukala pegged the Globe reefs which was over 200 metres long, with a maximum depth of 20 metres.

Each man registered his own claim in Bulawayo in May 1894, but none of them had capital to exploit his claim. Legend says Schukala once tried to sell his claim for a case of whisky.

Lionel Phillips of Phillips Exploration Syndicate bought both the Globe and Phoenix reefs in September 1894.

The name Globe and Phoenix Mine was therefore a merger of the two reefs bought by Lionel Phillips, Globe reef from Joseph Schukala and Phoenix reef from Edward Thornton Pearson.

Nearby mines include Gaika, which lies on the immediate south whike Indarama Mine  lies closely on the north. ENDS//

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