The Ministry of Mines and Mining Development has temporarily shut down KAZSHAM mine in Norton following allegations of human rights abuse at the mine, among other offences an official has said.
The shutdown came after workers and artisanal miners at the mine raised allegations of ill-treatment and slavery-like working conditions.
Artisanal miners in a partnership with Mr. Kazzie, an Indian investor and owner of KAZSHAM mine, late last year, called on the government to intervene in the situation at the mine which they described as “horrible”.
The artisanal miners said Kazzie was treating them inhumanly despite the fact that they are working flat out to produce much gold for the mine.
Kazzie is also being accused of allegedly channelling a large chunk of the mine’s gold production to “smuggling” sighting it as the reason why he has been delaying paying them their percentage as he receives part of the money after the gold reaches its destination.
The artisanal miners said the Indian investor bridged the contract they agreed in which he was supposed to meet all the operations cost-sharing profits at 75/25 with the miners with Kazzie being the sole buyer of the gold from the miners. However, the artisanal miners are said to be now meeting all the operations costs. Kazzie allegedly buys the gold at US$30 per gram and the miners get US$7.5 per gram with operational costs exceeding US$5 per gram milled.
“We had agreed with Mr. Kazzie that he will meet all the operations costs but he has not obliged to our agreement. He has, however, threatened to shut down the mine whenever we confront him, he even pointed a gun at some of us.” the miners said.
KAZSHAM mine has not built a single toilet for the artisanal miners who are numbering up to 200 and over 99 percent of them are working without PPE.
The artisanal miners complained that they were operating at very high risk with their partner sometimes hiring soldiers to beat and intimidate them.
When Mining Zimbabwe approached the KAZSHAM owner in order for him to answer for the allegations raised by the miners, he denied us entry only allowing members of the Police and Norton Miners Association. MiningZimbabwe