A mine manager was attacked and killed on Wednesday night in Saruwe area, Mashonaland West, and the entire night shift of the mine has vanished with 20 tonnes of gold ore and a quantity of explosives.
Asst Comm Nyathi identified the dead man as Robert James Chilpott aged 68. A manhunt has been launched, focussing on the missing shift.
Although the details were still sketchy by yesterday, police suspect that the employees could have been in the habit of stealing gold or gold concentrates after processing the gold ore during the night.
The attack occurred at Sanary Mine at around 11pm with Mr Chilpott managing the mine on behalf of the owner who is based in South Africa.
“We have also established that the employees were mining gold ore, which they would later process into gold during the night and on the day in question, the now deceased ambushed the workers at around 11pm and discovered that they had processed the gold,” Asst Comm Nyathi said.
It is suspected that he questioned them and an argument arose and he was then attacked and died on the spot. Police officers were yesterday still at the mine trying to ascertain what had transpired.
This is not the first time that mine employees have been found on the wrong side of the law in Saruwe.
In October 2019, ZRP Saruwe recovered 30 tonnes of chrome ore that had been stolen at a mine in Selous through connivance by employees at the mine. The driver of the truck was reported to have taken off with the chrome before the quantity could be verified and through assistance by other employees he managed to leave the company premises.
A report was then made to the police and the truck was intercepted at a roadblock. The chrome was valued at US$30 000.
Gold panners have also been embroiled in clashes over gold, which have left others seriously injured and others killed. In April this year, a man was allegedly murdered by an artisanal miner at a gold mill in Amatola within the Jumbo Mine area during a scuffle over gold proceeds.
Allegations were that the deceased, Richard Makoto, had sponsored a group of artisanal miners to mine the gold and in return would share with them the proceeds after selling the ore.
Reports said a heated argument arose between Makoto and the artisanal miners before one of them hit him on the head with a shovel, killing him instantly.