First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa yesterday visited Ran Mine in Bindura to console relatives of artisanal miners trapped last Wednesday when a disused mine shaft collapsed.
The First Lady brought foodstuffs that include maize-meal, rice, salt and cooking oil, among others to families who have been camped at the site since last week.
The First Lady said she was saddened by the tragedy and had to come to meet relatives of the trapped miners.
“When we heard the news, we were distressed. The number of those trapped is huge and we were worried. As a mother, we keep hoping that we will see our children and we are praying that they are still alive. We leave everything in God’s hands,” she said.
“We thank the Government for its efforts in ensuring that resources for the rescue process are available. We also thank mining companies and all stakeholders who are working together in fighting to retrieve those trapped.”
Provincial Inspector of Mines and Explosives, Mr Edmore Mutenje, thanked Government efforts and support in rescuing the miners.
He said records from police show that at least 10 people were trapped underground.
Mr Mutenje showed the First Lady a video of artisanal miners taken at the scene a day before the tragedy. In the video, the miners are in the waterlogged tunnel, chiselling at the rocks while chiding each other about how dangerous their work is.
“The rescue mission continues and we are de-watering the tunnel from the other end. Our challenge is that the tunnel has a stretch of 500 metres and it is waterlogged,” said Mr Mutenje. “The first level is 50 metres deep and we continue de-watering so that we can reach the first, to see if we can have safe access to enter the tunnel.”
Mr Mutenje said the shaft flooded in 1992 and this is the first de-watering exercise.
RioZim and Afrochine, companies operating in Mashonaland West province, have chipped in with resources.
Mrs Nyangu Kajuta, whose son Tichaona Nyekete is among the trapped, said the First Lady had renewed her hopes.
“Today, the First Lady who is the patron of the Angel of Hope Foundation, came to see and comfort us. This is important in renewing our hope and realising that we are not alone during this sad time,” she said.