Mash West Bureau
The Civil Protection Unit yesterday agreed to continue efforts to find the five miners trapped at Task Mining Syndicate in Chegutu almost a fortnight ago.
Officials from CPU, Ministry of Mines, local leadership and Task Mining Syndicate management held a crisis meeting yesterday to decide on the next steps and assess the risks to rescue teams in relation to the diminishing hopes of rescue, but with families wanting the bodies recovered for burial if the five have died.
Two local traditional leaders, Chief Ngezi and Headman Simon Nyamukanga also attended the closed door session.
Task Mining Syndicate chairman Mr Timothy Masviba confirmed the meeting, but expressed happiness over the approval by the responsible departments for continuing the search.
Earlier, some relatives said Ministry of Mines officials had hinted that the search might be abandoned as hope fades of rescue.
The five workers at Task Mine Syndicate in Chegutu were trapped underground on September 8 when a shaft collapsed.
The five are Constantino Dzinoreva, Crynos Nyamukanga (ages not given), Munashe Nyamukanga (17), Shingai Gwatidzo (20) and a fifth miner only identified as Charles.
“One of the officials had hinted on the abandonment and subsequent closure of the mine on Saturday, but the decision was ill-informed. If they assume that they are dead, we deserve the right to bury our loved ones back home and, not at this shaft,” Mr Calisto Dzinoreva, brother to one of the trapped workers said.
Due to shortage of manpower, the search efforts have seen the teams only doing a single shift of at least six hours a day. The relatives also brought traditional healers to the mine site to conduct an appeasing ceremony.
Chief Government mining engineer, Mr Michael Munodawafa said although the search efforts were risky, the Ministry of Mines had approved the continuation of the search, but under strict adherence to safety rules.
“We are equally concerned about the lives of those that are trapped and their rescuers, hence, efforts should be carried from a careful perspective.”