SMALL-SCALE miners in Manicaland province are up in arms against the Mines ministry over double allocation of gold claims which, they say, has led to disputes among miners.

This was revealed on Friday at a Green Governance-organised workshop with small-scale gold miners in Penhalonga where it also emerged that government officials were pushing hapless miners off their gold claims.

Addressing the gathering, Manicaland Miners’ Association chairperson Lovemore Kasha said corruption had reached alarming levels in the Mines ministry.

“We are worried about corruption in the Ministry of Mines. These days it is now worse maybe it is because of the struggling economy. We, of late, witnessed double allocations of gold claims,” he said.
“If you ask why they are doing that, they will say we have given it to brigadier so and so or a senior government official and you are forced into silence.”

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Penhalonga Miners’ Association chairperson Tendai Mandonga also castigated the ministry for laxity as they were not educating small-scale miners on safety precautions.

“We are worried about the Ministry of Mines because they are not coming to carry out their duties because, as small-scale miners, we are supposed to be educated on security safety measures because we don’t want to see the loss of lives,” he said
“Yes, we need money, but we don’t want to see the loss of lives in the mining sector. Our Ministry of Mines officials in the province are not teaching us on safety precautions.”

Mandonga added: “There are many boundary disputes in the province. What happens if ministry officials fails to deal with these matters, then people will start to fight, leading to fatalities.”

Green Governance official Trevor James pledged to engage the Mines ministry over the allegations.

“We have noted all your points so our next step is that we are going to engage the ministry over the matter so that we can arrange a meeting with them,” he said. Manicaland provincial mining director Omen Dube mobile’s phone went unanswered when contacted for comment yesterday.