MUTARE– The Zimbabwe Diamond Workers Union (ZIDAWU) has condemned security forces’ hidden hand in artisanal mining activities which are still rampant and continue to put lives of unskilled miners in danger despite government outlawing such activities.
By Donald Nyarota
Artisanal miners’ lives are put at great risk as they are emboldened by their association with security forces to venture into abandoned claims.
ZIDAWU Secretary General, Cosmus Sunguro told journalists at a press briefing in Mutare today that government should promote safe mining standards to protect artisanal miners.
The call comes after the death of three artisanal diamond miners on August 14 in Chiadzwa.
“As ZIDAWU we condemn the case of syndicates prevalent in diamond mining where artisanal miners work in cahoots with security forces to loot diamonds. This tends to put miners at risk as they are made to work even in hazardous areas.
“It is high time we re-look the issue of formalization of artisanal diamond miners in Zimbabwe. The clarion call often falls on deaf ears with authorities concerned choosing to ignore.
“Its high time the areas that are less viable for commercial mining be given to artisanal miners,” said ZIDAWU.
The statement added that the deaths were regrettable as they came hot on the heels of two more deaths barely a month ago where two artisanal gold miners died at Arda Transau farm near Odzi.
“Their deaths is a wake-up call to all stakeholders to call for observance of safe mining. In most incidents we found that artisanal miners use substandard tools that are not safe to mine (with). They rarely wear personal protective clothing (PPC) during mining activities,” read part of the statement.
The union then called upon for the formalization of artisanal mining in the country.
“It is high time we re-look at issue of formalizing artisanal diamond mining in Zimbabwe. The clarion call often falls on deaf ears with responsible authorities choosing not to care at all.
“Its high time all areas that are less viable for commercial mining be given to artisanal miners,” said ZIDAWU.