VULTURES are circling over mining conglomerate Metallon gold’s Penhalonga mine – Redwing, and the company needs to be vigilant to fend off invasions, a senior government official has said.
Ministry of Mines and Mining Development official Innocent Murapa told a peace conference held by Green Governance in Mutare recently that the mine was under serious threat and risks losing.
The mine is currently closed with contract miners currently working in its mining concession.
“Redwing is facing a serious business problem that needs to be solved…Redwing mine is under potential invasion. It is sitting on land that many others would want to mine.
“If Redwing sleeps on its business they will lose,” Murapa said.
He said the threat was also extending to other huge mining conglomerates as small-scale miners’ angle at moving into their claims with a change of laws under the use it or lose it principle.
“Large scale miners know that there is going to be a wave of claims into mining concessions that have been lying idle under the use it or lose it principle,” he said.
Murapa however said this presented an opportunity for young people to also lay legal claim to concessions that will be availed under the review.
“This might come as an opportunity for others because if opportunities arise then anyone who is 18 years or older can be registered as a small-scale miner and pursue the opportunities,” he said.
Murapa said the government was not going to allow chaos in the gold mining sector which it expects to contribute 34 percent of the US$12 billion annual target.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development has assured locals that the dust fumes that are coming from Metallon Gold’s Redwing mines dumps into residential areas to its west are sterilised.
Mines official Innocent Murapa said they have since asked the mining concern to re-sterilise the dump although they are still pushing for the mine to continue watering the dump to reduce dust pollution.
“The dust that is being raised. The dust has been re-sterilised but they are not watering it. We are engaging Redwing mine to continue to water it,” Murapa said.
This comes as Penhalonga Residents Trust chairperson Weston Makoni alleged that residents were concerned that they were being poisoned by the dust.
“Mine dump is raising chemical dust and is slowly poisoning us,” Makoni said.