Zimbabwe advises artisanal miners to stop operations due to rains

Engineering vehicles are seen at an open cast mine operated by Zhong Jian Investments, a Chinese coal mining company, in Hwange, Matebeleland North Province, Zimbabwe, on June 13, 2022. [Xinhua]

The Zimbabwean government has advised small-scale and artisanal miners to stop mining until the rainy season ends.

In addition, all miners including large and medium-scale miners should take precautionary measures to safeguard their operations during the current rainy season due to heightened risks of flooding, drowning, weakened ground and ground subsidence, Minister of Mines and Mining Development Zhemu Soda said in a statement on Monday.

His call comes after 15 artisanal miners were trapped for four days at the Redwing Gold Mine in Mutare. The collapse of a shaft led to their entrapment, with rescue efforts initially hindered by unstable ground. They were successfully rescued on the fourth day.

Zimbabwe is expected to experience a "short and sharp" rainfall season this year owing to the El Nino weather phenomenon. Authorities said the rains, which started in late December, could end by February.