- March 19, 2019
- Posted in LOCAL
GOVERNMENT has said mining activities at Peace Mine in Silobela are illegal because the mine has been closed for safety reasons.
Midlands provincial mining director, Mr Nelson Munyanduri said as far as his department was concerned, the mine was closed pending inspection by responsible authorities.
“Any mining activities taking place at the mine are illegal and not sanctioned by us. As far as we are concerned, all mining activities at the mine were suspended for security reasons and we have to inspect the mine first before mining could resume,” said Mr Munyanduri.
Peace Mine, which was supposed to be a model Community Ownership Scheme mine and received state of the art equipment from Government, was closed in 2016 following massive vandalism of the equipment and violent clashes by groups claiming ownership of the mine.
Following the death of then chairperson of the trust, Arthur Nkiwane in 2017, his widow, Mrs Sibusisiwe Moyo, took over the reins at the mine, a move that did not go down well with another group led by Chief Sigodo who also claims ownership of the mine.
Mrs Moyo has been carrying out mining activities at the mine and stands accused of personalising the mine instead of running it as a trust.
“He is bent on disturbing operations at the mine claiming he owns the mine. The mine benefits more than 1 000 families and it is running smoothly as a community ownership scheme where everyone is taking turns to mine. But Chief Sigodo recently sent bouncers to attack us and order us off the mine,” said Mr Nkiwane.
Chief Sigodo, born Apollo Mlilo, said the mine belonged to him after a court ruling overturned the community ownership set up.
“For starters, I did not send any bouncers to them, they actually attacked police officers who had gone to the mine to serve them with the court papers,” said the Chief.
He said operations were stopped by Government after the community ownership trust collapsed after the Nkiwane family turned the mine into a family project.
“Mines officials closed the mine pending further assessments but they continue to mine thereby putting people’s lives at risk. I am urging Government to intervene before another disaster similar to the Battlefields one is witnessed,” he said.
“With respect to Peace Mine, the mine has initially been under wrangle in terms of ownership of the mining claims. The long and short of it is that there is a tribute agreement, which expired in October 2017 and the registered owner of the claims has indicated that he is not renewing the tribute. So the issue at the moment is between the owner of the claim and those who wish to mine to enter into a valid tribute agreement,” said Minister Chitando._The Chronicle