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Illegal panners raiding Chiadzwa diamond-mining fields

by Staff Reporter
02 Jan 2014 at 14:48hrs | Views
panners are still raiding diamond-mining fields in
ILLEGAL panners are still raiding diamond-mining fields in Chiadzwa despite the tight security that has been put in place in the area.

A visit to some of the mining fields in the area revealed that the illegal panners raid at night in search of the precious mineral.

Most of the mining fields of the seven companies that are in Chiadzwa are fenced with security details patrolling the area.

The diamond-mining companies are Diamond Mining Corporation, Mbada Diamonds, Anjin, Marange Resources, Jinan, Gye Nyame and Kusena.

Most of the illegal panners have gone to the extent of cutting the fence in order to gain entry into the fields.

In an interview last week, Diamond Mining Corporation chief security officer Mr Bothman Musiiwa said most of the panners were living in nearby bush areas.

"We used to have problems with the panners and we have since tightened our security here to curb the vice," he said.

He said from January to November, they recorded 56 cases of illegal panning and intrusions and arrested 51 suspects in connection with the cases.

The company also recorded 34 cases in which its boundary fence was cut.

Last Tuesday, the company lost 20 metres of boundary fence and it is believed that the suspects could have taken it to nearby areas such as Buhera.

"We have since intensified our deployments to curb any criminal activities in the area," he said.

DMC security manager Mr Jaco Buys said during the past few years they have been recording at least 20 cases per month in which panners would target their mines.

"This has now reduced to at least one or two cases and in some instances no cases are recorded per month as a result of the tight security," he said.

Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa recently said companies mining diamonds in Chiadzwa must set the pace in security operations beyond Kimberley Process Certification Scheme standards.

He made the remarks early last month during his maiden tour of the diamond-mining companies since his appointment to that portfolio in September last year.

"We must go up in terms of our security not because of KPC," he said after touring Mbada Diamonds' security checks and the control tower that is linked to Mbada headquarters in Harare.

"We must exceed KPC. We must set the pace so that when people come here they will say KPC has been re-defined in Zimbabwe. I must commend you for what you have done in your security. It's impressive."

Chiadzwa is a restricted area and there are uniformed forces that man the area. Mining companies have also beefed up security by employing security guards as well as engaging services of other guards from private security companies.

Source - Manicapost