Fifteen subsistence miners have been trapped underground following a collapse at the Redwing mine around 270km from Zimbabwe’s capital city of Harare, Reuters reported.  

The incident, which occurred on 4 January, is believed to have been caused by earth tremors, according to initial assessments by the ministry of mines and mining development in Zimbabwe.  

Metallon, the owner of Redwing mine, has confirmed the collapse and is actively working to rescue the trapped individuals.  

The company claims to have deployed a rescue team, but unstable ground conditions have made the operation challenging.  

In a statement, Metallon said: “The team has made several rescue attempts. However, the ground remains unstable, rendering rescue operations unsafe. Our teams are diligently assessing ground conditions to make sure the rescue operations proceed safely as soon as possible.” 

The mine, which has been under corporate rescue (financial assistance/rehabilitation) since 2020, has seen subsistence miners conducting unsanctioned mining activities.  

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By GlobalData

Such miners, often young men seeking to make a living in the gold-rich regions of Zimbabwe, face significant risks due to the lack of regulated safety measures, Al Jazeera noted

The country has a history of mine accidents, including a recent tragedy at Bay Horse mine in Chegutu, Mashonaland West province. 

The Bay Horse mine collapsed in September 2023, trapping at least 34 miners underground. Around 13 miners had escaped, while the remaining 21 were trapped, Reuters noted, quoting state television ZBC TV.    

The incident led to a death toll of ten. Bodies of the workers were found pinned beneath rocks, CNN reported.  

These illegal miners had reached depths of around 150m through undesignated entry points.