Rescue workers are struggling to reach about forty miners trapped below ground following a collapse at a mine at Bindura in Mashonaland Central Province, Zimbabwe, on Wednesday 25 November 2020. The trapped workers, described as informal miners (miners who do not have any official right to work in the mine, but who were not breaking any law in Zimbabwe by entering it), were working at the abandoned Ran Gold Mine at the time of the collapse, which is believed to have been caused by an explosive charge being detonated below ground. So far only six miners have been pulled from the site, all of whom are being treated at a local hospital, with further rescue attempts being hampered by flooding at the mine.
The entering of abandoned mines and other sites by artisanal miners is not regarded as illegal in Zimbabwe, a country plagued by high unemployment and other economic problems, and is recognised as making a significant contribution to the economy, as such miners are able to sell their product locally rather than smuggling it out to avoid the attention of local authorities, as happens in many African countries. However, the informal nature of this industry makes it extremely dangerous, as few of those involved have any formal training in mining engineering, and little if any health and safety precautions are taken in such mines, and their are occasional reports of armed clashes between rival groups over lucrative sites.
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