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End of the road for thousands of Shurugwi illegal miners

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End of the road for thousands of Shurugwi illegal miners

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ALVINA CHIWANIKA
MIRROR REPORTER

SHURUGWI – The 31st of March 2024 is the end of the road for thousands of artisanal miners at Hwandama Mine in Shurugwi as mine magnate Ian Saunders returns to his claim with modern equipment to start mining.
Shurugwi artisanal miners from all over the country are making a living, digging for the yellow metal at Hwandara.
The development comes after Saunders of Falcon Gold Mine gave notice to Shurugwi Empowerment Trust for the cancellation of the free lease for youth to mine at the blocks.
Hwandara was closed to formal mining in the 1990s when Falcon had to stop it’s operations. The mine is expected to produce 100 tonnes of gold per year.
Hwandara has of late seen an alarming increase in fatal accidents and the development could be good news for safety.
Saunders had for many years an arrangement with Zanu PF MPs where he allowed artisanal miners free lease at Hwandara on condition that he could remove them on three months’ notice. The mines were leased to Shurugwi Community Empowerment Trust.
The development will at least see more than 3000 youths losing their only source of income and sources allege that Saunders is giving the mine to some Chinese companies.
Joseph Mupasi, MP for Shurugwi North confirmed the development and hoped that the new investors will create employment for the youth.
Saunders was not reachable for a comment.
The agreed mining blocks included Trust Lulu 3, Lulu 19, Umcima 12 and Pacific pm1647,B and B.
“The grantor will have the right to terminate this tribute agreement by providing the tributor with three months’ notice. Falcon entered into four standards tribute with Shurugwi Community Empowerment Trust Lulu 3, Trust Lulu 19 ,Umcima 12 and Pacific Band B. Kindly make all necessary arrangements for the Trust and its subcontractors to vacate these claims at the latest date by 31 March 2024.
“As indications of our intent to continue to work with the Trust to develop the district and empowering the community via Trust. I am pleased to be able to offer as replacement for these cancelled tribute of title Falcon Gold Zimbabwe of four precious metal claims in immediate areas,” reads the letter to Shurugwi North MP.
“Saunders wrote a letter to me about the termination of the Tribute contracts. My mission is to save Shurugwi residents and Saunders has given us an alternative mining claim which is safer,” said Mupasi.
He called upon artisanal miners with queries to approach him. Falcon is now bringing machinery at Hwandara and thousands of our youth will be employed there,” said Mpasi.
Some parents are celebrating the development because of the high fatality rate at the mine.
“I support the closure of Hwandara Mine to illegal miners because we have lost children. I lost my child last week after he entered into a mine and got trapped by a huge stone. I appeal to the Ministry of Mines to close all unsafe mines,” said Elisha Mufiri.
Provincial Mining Director, Contilda Chimasha told The Mirror that they did not receive any information concerning the termination of Falcon and Trust tributes.
“As ministry of mines we are yet to receive such document for the termination of contract between Shurugwi Trust and Falcon. Falcon had a tribute with Shurugwi Trust and terms and if Falcon feels that it wants to terminate the contract it can do so. They do what they want with their claims depending with their terms and conditions. Hwandara Mine belongs to Falcon Mine,” said Chimasha.

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