POLICE have arrested 50 illegal miners in Esigodini as the fight to end violence in the mining areas intensifies.
Police launched Operation “Chikorokoza Ngachipere”, and “No to machete wielding gangs” on January 14 and the operation has netted in more than 3 000 illegal miners from across the country.
The operation was launched at a time when machete-wielding illegal gold panners wreaked havoc in gold rich areas dotted across the country, killing dozens of people in the process.
National police spokesperson Paul Nyathi on Friday said the illegal miners were caught prospecting for gold at Upper Ncema Dam, which supplies water to Bulawayo residents.
The dam was, however, decommissioned in June last year due to low water levels.
“I can confirm that 50 illegal gold panners were arrested leading to the recovery of 15 shovels, 10 picks, and eight iron bars. Among the illegal miners was a wanted person for public violence,” Nyathi said.
The arrest of the illegal miners, popularly known as amakorokoza, comes at a time when the local authority expressed concern that gold panning in and around the city’s supply dams is threatening Bulawayo water sources.
Bulawayo mayor Solomon Mguni has in the past highlighted that the illegal mining activities are leading to siltation in the supply dams and that miners are damaging water supply pipes while prospecting for gold.