Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Court Reporter
A group of illegal gold panners calling itself Pickstone Youth Mining Cooperative Society has lost its bid to grab Peerless Mine in Chegutu from the legitimate owners Breckridge Investments.
The group claimed to have been illegally evicted from the mining site in December last year by the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development with the aid of the police.
During the eviction, the youths caused a stir at the mining site in Chegutu and came up with unsubstantiated claims that their three colleagues were buried alive during skirmishes.
However, investigations by the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development officials, who went underground did not establish or recover any bodies.
High Court judge Justice Lavender Makoni threw out an urgent chamber application by the group citing lack of urgency.
The court also went on to indicate that the group was not legitimately on the mine site as confirmed by the Minister of Mines and Mining Development.
The development gave Breckridge Investments full access and greenlight to carry out undisturbed operations at the mine.
The urgent chamber application was thrown out after convincing arguments by Breckridge lawyers Lunga Gonese Attorneys.
Responding to the application in the High Court recently, Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa, described Pickstone Youth Mining Cooperative Society as a bunch of illegal miners who have been operating without the relevant mining papers.
“The applicant does not possess any mining certificate or registration for the said mining claims.
“Applicant’s members were mining illegally and in conflict with the Mines and Minerals Act. Peerless PEO 1 is not a mining location, but a pit located within Breckridge Investment mining blocks,” he said.
Minister Chidhakwa said there was no need for Government to seek a court order in evicting the group, because the illegal miners had nothing to do with the said mine, neither did they have any papers to show.
“There was no need for a court order since the illegality of their presence and illicit mining activities gave them no such relief as per such request under the law,” he said.
Government urged the court to throw out the application, arguing that allowing the illegal miners back to the mine site, was tantamount to promoting chaos in the mining industry and fuelling gold leakages.
The group insisted that their colleagues only identified as Gidza, Nicholas and Mundevere were buried alive.
They argued that they were disturbed by the December incident as many members were displaced.
It was the group’s submission that their local legislator Cde Dexter Nduna had to come to their rescue and assisted them in getting legal representation to challenge the eviction.