Government has threatened to take punitive measures against artisanal miners who have been running riot in the Midlands Province violently attacking each other saying those found wanting will be severely punished.
This comes in the wake of Kwekwe artisanal miners who recently attacked each other with one person losing his life while others sustained life threatening injuries over mining claims.
In an interview with 263Chat, Mines and Mining Development, Walter Chidhakwa warned those jostling for un-allocated mining claims that government will soon descent on them.
“We are aware of activities that are going on in the Midlands area and some parts of Gwanda where people are competing for mining claims, some of which are not allocated to anyone while some are allocated to different people. Some people are coming in to take those claims without due process.
“I want to send a stern and strong message to those that have been using violent activities when they hear that there is a lucrative claim in a certain area. These thugs come every night and beat up everyone and as government we condemn such acts and we are taking this seriously. I have had discussion with the Ministry of Home affairs and we will be taking very stern action,” Minister Chidhakwa warned.
He said although the government has allowed small scale miners to operate, it is not a leeway for lawlessness.
Chidhakwa implored local traditional leaders to intervene and resolve such disputes as a way of restoring order within the artisanal mining sector.
Midlands Province is the country’s largest gold producer in the country. In 2015, small scale miners produced in excess of 2, 9 tons of gold forcing the government to consider legalizing their operations as they can play a pivotal role in the economic development of the country.
#263ChatGovernment of ZimbabweMinister Walter Chidhakwa