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Small Scale MinersNews

Gold panners besiege Kwekwe monuments

GOLD panners have invaded three historical monuments in Globe and Phoenix, Kwekwe, leaving the properties facing possible collapse.

The illegal miners have been digging tunnels and pits at the Paper House, where Rhodesia founder Cecil John Rhodes reportedly once stayed. The former residences are part of Globe and Phoenix Mine museums, which also include a former “royal palace” now being used as a guest house by Kwekwe Consolidated Gold Mines trading as Homestake Mining Company. Both the Paper House and the former palace are about 200 metres from the Kwekwe central business district.

The miners, who have dug pits and tunnels all over the area in search of gold, are encroaching onto some premises in the city, in the process destroying roads, streetlights and other infrastructure in the Globe and Phoenix suburb.

This has resulted in residents failing to access some areas, according to information gathered by NewsDay.

Kwekwe town clerk Lucia Mkandla confirmed the issue.

“Yes, we are aware of complaints of some gold panners who have encroached onto people’s homes and some infrastructure,” Mkandla said.

“These are poachers who are just trying to extract the minerals illegally. We have since notified the police and they are handling the matter. Therefore, I can’t comment further on the matter,”

Earlier this year, authorities at Globe and Phoenix Primary School raised alarm on the dangers posed by the same gold panners who were encroaching onto school premises.

Residents have alerted the authorities several times about massive environmental degradation and dangers being posed by the illegal gold panners, to no avail.

Rosemary Adolfo, a resident whose house has been affected, said the panners were using explosives in the residential area, endangering their lives.

“My family can’t even go out of the yard in a car, because they have dug right by the gate,” Adolfo said.

“At this rate, we may not even be able to walk out of the yard. We have done all we can to have the problem addressed, but nothing is materialising. We have approached many officers who have told us that their hands are tied to deal with the matter.”

In a letter to council dated November 1, 2022, Adolfo implored city fathers to act on the illegal gold mining activities, stating that the situation could worsen during the approaching rain season.

“With all due respect, I am writing to notify you about the worsening state of roads and trees and the absence of streetlights in Globe and Phoenix suburb. I and fellow residents are facing significant difficulties and dangers with the parlous state of the roads, which have not been serviced in all my 20 years of residence, streetlights again which were last attended to more than 20 years ago and the ever-increasing menace of rampant illegal mining activities which are further worsening the condition of municipal infrastructure which are roads, water and sewage reticulation as their digging is wreaking havoc in Globe and Phoenix.”

No comment could be obtained from Midlands province police spokesperson Emmanuel Mahoko. His mobile phone was not reachable.

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said: “I have not yet been briefed on that matter. I will check right now.” – (Newsday)

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