Illegal Miners Threaten Safety at Eureka Gold Mine

While they have always been known to be a menace…

While they have always been known to be a menace in shutdown mining operations or those under care and maintenance, illegal miners are at it again at Dallaglio-owned Eureka Gold Mine in Guruve, posing a serious risk to themselves, mine workers, communities, and the environment.

Rudairo Mapuranga

On Thursday, the Deputy Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Engineer Polite Kambamura, visited Eureka Mine for a fact-finding mission on how illegal miners are invading part of the mine.

The illegal miners, who reportedly come in large numbers to the mine, are said to be vandalizing security fencing and tailings storage facilities, beating up outnumbered security personnel, and at times going into the open-pit mine soon after blasting.

What is really happening?

According to Eureka Mine General Manager Nelson Banda, the illegal miners who are encroaching into the mine are looking for waste from the mine operations to process at nearby hammer mills.

While to Eureka it will be waste, the miners are now causing serious Safety, Health, and Environment (SHE) risks by going under trucks offloading waste, digging through Tailings Storage Facility (TSF) thereby weakening it, and also going into open-pit operations soon after blasting.

“Our waste is mineralized, that is why it is attracting a lot of illegal miners.

“They are vandalizing our TSF.

“There is a danger of drowning because they are coming through water,” Banda said.

What should be done?

These illegal miners should be stopped from invading any part of the mine, which is creating threats to the environment by vandalizing TSF, which can spill into the Dande River.

These illegal miners under normal circumstances should not be engaged (because they are thieves) but be prosecuted heavily for trespassing into the mine.

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How is the matter being handled?

Eureka Mine has taken note that most of the miners who are coming in are doing so due to high levels of unemployment in the country, therefore, the mine believes a diplomatic approach should be employed.

According to Banda, the mine was looking at establishing a project that was going to employ the majority of the local community.

He said the first priority was to engage the community and look at ways of giving them the waste in an orderly and safe manner, at the same time coming up with a long-term project.

According to the Deputy Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Hon Dr. Engineer Polite Kambamura, the government was going to help Eureka engage the community to stop the potential risk caused by these miners.

“We came here to do an assessment and fact-finding. We will be coming back to engage the miners so that we address this issue,” Engineer Kambamura said.

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