Govt clears air on Pickstone Mine saga

Dexter Nduna

Cde Nduna

Tendai Mugabe Senior Reporter
Artisanal miners within the Pickstone Peerless Mine area in Chegutu produced 62kg of gold in 2015, official figures from Fidelity Printers and Refiners have revealed.

This is by far a lower figure compared to claims by Chegutu West legislator, Cde Dexter Nduna, that the artisanal miners produced 100kg of gold monthly.

Monthly production of the 10 gold milling companies in the area ranged between 2kg and 8kg.

The Pickstone Peerless issue drew public attention last month following claims that six artisanal miners had been trapped in the shafts after mine management backfilled them without prior notice.

Cde Nduna, the legislator for the area, condemned Pickstone Peerless Mine management for ignoring the plight of the artisanal miners whom he then claimed were officially depositing 100kg of gold with Fidelity Printers Refiners every month.

Last week the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development said only Taka Forest in Chimanimani had broken the small-scale miners record after depositing 96kg in 2004.

The ministry said it was compiling detailed figures on Pickstone Peerless output and this week released figures furnished by Fidelity Printers.

“Total gold delivered to FPR totalled 62,9257kg,” said Mines and Mining Development secretary Professor Francis Gudyanga.

“Monthly gold deliveries from these 10 milling centres ranged from a low of 2,2386 kilogrammes to a high of 8,505 kilogrammes.

“The monthly average gold production for the period under review was 5,7205kg. Monthly gold delivered was greater than 8kg only for the month of October when 8,505kg was recorded,” he said.

Gold delivered from the 10 milling centres was in the range of 82 grammes to 1,8 kg.

“These gold deliveries statistics which are provided by Fidelity Printers and Refiners do not show gold production reaching 100kg in any one month for the period under review.

“Even if the monthly gold production from the Pickstone Peerless Gold Mine was added to gold production from the 10 milling centres, the total monthly gold production is nowhere near the 100kg mark.”

Following reports of the trapped artisanal miners at Pickstone Peerless Mine, Government commissioned a high powered delegation of experts to investigate the matter.

Prof Gudyanga said these included the acting Government chief mining engineer, acting provincial mining director for Mashonaland West, mining engineer and inspectors of mines and explosives.

Recently, Prof Gundyanga said the team, with the assistance of the company, had dug 22 metres and no shred of evidence was found of trapped miners.

Police later confirmed that one of the alleged victims was located recently in Zvimba in good health.

Government is expected to pronounce its position on the matter this week.

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