Freedom Mupanedemo Midlands Bureau
Government yesterday tasked Gaika mine’s management to come up with timelines for the commencement of production while also warning that it was ready to withdraw members of the police and army that were deployed at the mine early this year.
This followed some bloody clashes between some illegal miners who had invaded the mine and forced the owners to suspend operations.
The Midlands Provincial Joint Operation Command (JOC), led by the provincial Minister, Larry Mavima toured the mine to assess the security situationand to check on progress on resumption of production.
Speaking after the tour, Minister Mavima said it was not Government’s duty to continue providing security for the mine.
“We have come here as JOC to see what the mine management have done in terms of security and production. It’s not the Government’s duty to provide security to private companies, but Gaika Mine appears as if it has become a military outpost. They should put their house in order,” said Minister Mavima.
“We also want to know when the company is going to start production, they cannot continue to hide under resuscitation and recapitalisation without giving us proper timeliness as to when production will start.”
Speaking at the same event, Commander Five Brigade, Brigadier General Simo Maseko said the company should make sure they have enough security to thwart illegal miners who would want to test their security apparatus once they withdraw the army.
“We don’t want a situation where we will withdraw the army here today and then after a few weeks you come back to seek our intervention again. You should beef up your security and make sure that you put in place all the mechanisms that make for a good working environment,” he said.
Gaika Mine’s acting country projects manager Mr Allan Mashingaidze said they have since hired a private security company, which is now providing security at the mine.
He said they were also installing some closed circuit televisions.
Mr Mashingaidze, who was evasive as to when the mine would start production, said they have tabled a US$800 000 budget to revamp the mine before the company’s main shareholders.
“Our shareholders will deliberate on the figure and once it is approved, we will then start operations. We are setting up a milling plant that will be producing at least 5,8kg per month,” said Mr Mashingaidze.
Gaika Mine, which is a subsidiary of Duration Gold Mines, released a statement recently saying it had engaged experts to examine the extent of damage caused by illegal mining activities that have been taking place.
There have been reports that the mine management were hiding under the guise of assessing damage while already mining.