23 miners perish in flooded shafts

23 Feared Dead In A Flood At Out-Of-Operation Zimbabwe Gold Mine

23 Feared Dead In A Flood At Out-Of-Operation Zimbabwe Gold Mine

But the dam wall nearby collapsed, flooding the shafts and tunnels.

Inspector Clemence Mabweazara, police spokesman for Mashonaland West Province, said civil protection teams are being deployed to drain the water from the mines.

The flooding, caused by heavy rains, led to the collapse of a dam wall at around 23:00 on Tuesday, leaving 34 miners trapped underground at Silver Moon Mine and another four at the Cricket Mine, The Herald reported.

He noted that the water levels in both mines continue to rise, leading to fears that the miners may have drowned.

Fortunate Muzulu, the administrator for the area, said: "The names of the people believed to have been trapped has reached 23. We are now in the process of pumping out water to rescue and search for more bodies", said Gwatiringa.

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Artisanal miners produce most of Zimbabwe's gold, but at a huge cost to themselves and the environment.

Reports say the miners were trapped in shafts 30 metres below ground near the central town of Kadoma where there are rich gold deposits. "As many as we can because the water levels are continuously rising from beneath and we are not sure if the miners had reached an aquifer below", she told the Harare-based newspaper.

"Chances of rescuing any survivors are very slim".

RioZim spokesperson Wilson Gwatiringa told dpa that efforts were under way to pump out water so that bodies could be retrieved.

"The shafts where artisanal miners were working last night (Tuesday night) were flooded during the night trapping them underground".

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