Source: Mining tunnels threaten Kwekwe Govt complex – Sunday News Mar 5, 2017
THE Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing has ordered immediate evacuation of Kwekwe’s Government Complex after the building developed wide cracks amid fears that it might collapse into disused cross cutting tunnels that run underneath the city.
The tunnels were left by mining companies that operated in the area years ago. One of the mining companies cited as having failed to close the tunnels after ceasing operations a couple of years ago is Globe and Phoenix. In a letter written by Midlands Provincial Public Works director Mr Philip Makara, the ministry noted that the wide cracks that the building was developing was being caused by underground mining activities.
He said there was looming danger of a possible collapse of the building into disused cross cutting tunnels that run underneath the gold mining city. The building houses about five ministries.
“Kwekwe District Administrator’s Offices is operating as a composite office in Kwekwe. We house several ministries like the Registrar General’s office, Civil Service Commission, Civil Court and DA’s offices. The building has developed wide cracks and is visibly sagging due to different settlements caused by underground mining activities. The building is unsafe for use and we recommend that we evacuate the tenants urgently to avoid a looming disaster,” reads part of the letter.
The dire situation has been worsened by the incessant rains that the country has received since the beginning of the year as the ground is feared to be soft. The ministry advised the office bearers to evacuate the building immediately.
“Please be advised that the cracks which are being experienced on buildings at the DA’s Complex have become persistent that an urgent solution is needed. We are suspecting that there may be tunnels beneath which may be nearing collapse. However, we have no alternative offices to accommodate you. We have appealed to the Government to construct new offices but our appeal is still under consideration as we have not yet received any funding. You are therefore required to relocate yourselves in safe places,” reads an evacuation notice sent by the ministry.
The Ministry of Mines and Mining Development in 2014 dispatched a team of engineers led by Deputy Minister, Cde Fred Moyo to assess the intensity of the risk following reports that some buildings in Kwekwe’s Central Business District and its eastern side were at risk of collapsing into disused cross cutting tunnels that run underneath.
In an interview soon after the assessment of Kwekwe, Cde Moyo conceded that the mining city was at risk but said the ministry was yet to establish the magnitude and severity of the risk posed by the mining tunnels.
A mining expert, Mr Christopher Goremusandu, who served as Midlands mining surveyor for over 20 years, told Sunday News then that Kwekwe was sitting on a time bomb that could explode anytime if no immediate action was taken.