THE Ministry of Mines and Mining Development yesterday dispatched a team of engineers led by Deputy Minister Cde Fred Moyo to assess the intensity of the risk amid reports that some buildings in Kwekwe’s central business district and its eastern side were at risk of collapsing into disused tunnels that criss-cross under the town. The tunnels were left by some mining concerns which operated in the area before independence.
In an interview soon after the assessment, Cde Moyo conceded that the mining town was at risk but said the ministry was still to establish the magnitude and severity/gravity of the danger posed by the mining tunnels. Cde Moyo said the engineers conducted surveys and would compile a report on the findings before making recommendations which would be presented by Mines Minister, Cde Walter Chidhakwa before Cabinet.
“We received a report from the provincial Government mining engineer to the effect that there were some tunnels running underneath Kwekwe city. He made certain recommendations that we cannot disclose at the moment. “Minister Chidhakwa then sent me and a team of engineers to come and assess the situation so that the matter would be presented before Cabinet tomorrow (today),” he said. He said the ministry would also make their own recommendations to the minister after assessing the situation.
“We have engaged the police as well as the local authority. However, we want to come up with a well-informed report so that we do not cause alarm.” Cde Moyo said Government was in the process of resolving the ownership wrangle at Chaka Plant Mine which had been raging on for over a decade.
“We understand that there has been an ownership wrangle at the mine for over 10 years. “The issue is yet to be resolved by the courts and we want to normalise the situation. Government is responsible for the mine as far as adherence to the mining laws is concerned,” he said. There are reports that Kwekwe was sitting on a time bomb due to mining tunnels that were left by Globe and Phoenix Mine after ceasing operations some years back.
The tunnels run underneath Kwekwe’s CBD. Due to rampant illegal mining activities as well as incessant rains, some of the buildings on the eastern side of the town are at risk of collapsing.