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Exploitation at Bindura’s Ran Mine rife

By Business Reporter –Sunday 28 February 2021

HARARE (Mining Index) – REMUNERATION and housing conflicts, loss of employment, evictions, no provision of water, cultural rights violation, lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), increase in child labour, rising cases of commercial sex workers and involvement of state apparatus have been the order of the day at Ran Mine.

Ran Mine is located in Bindura.

The mine was exploited by GNP Industries, a Germany company for 103 years and closed in 1999.

After the closure, Exdrill Mining continued with the mining operation and employed 20 workers who then lost their jobs after the company ceased operations.

The workers who were working under the former company despite being given the assurance to be employed by the successor company lost their jobs.  

Currently, Aurora Gold started exploiting the mining claims through a subcontract and thereafter issued eviction notices to the Exdrill workers.

Aurora’s workers stay a few metres from the mining facility and that is where their homes called ‘camps’ have been constructed.

The company is not providing residents with water.

‘On remuneration conflicts, one interviewee noted that she was earning less than USD15 as a formal employee to Aurora, but after joining the ASM sector she is realizing USD80 per week,’

‘More than 1000 artisanal and small-scale miner (ASMers) are into artisanal and small-scale gold mining at Ran Mine (estimated by the interviewee),’

‘On housing conflicts with miners, there are reports that no due diligence procedures were undertaken in the blasting procedure as noted from some houses that have developed cracks. Of interest is that, during the blasting process one house collapsed and one casualty was recorded,’ revealed the Zimbabwe Environment Lawyers Association (ZELA) in its Situational Report.

Some families were said to be literally mining in their homesteads because the area is generally mineral rich.

Miners are currently using mercury, and they are operating without PPEs.

The local company is violating cultural rights and locals argue that this is one of the reasons why it has failed to realise much from its operations.

Notably, the community was not consulted (no EIA process).  

In the mining community, Child labour has increased since the lockdown with many children getting involved to try and earn income for their families.

There are many cases of ‘commercial sex work’ within the residential area, though this discussion is spoken about in hushed tones.

There is also involvement of the state apparatus (police) in the ASM sector that has been noted with some of them financing the illegal mining and some demanding bribes from the miners.

Security guards are also milking the ASMers. These guards are demanding bribes ranging from USD1-USD5 so that the illegal miner’s trespass and continue with their illegal mining activities.

With the current company it is not easy to undertake ASM compared to the former one as reported by the community members. ENDS// 

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