TWENTY-SIX illegal miners were recently arrested in Mazowe under Zimbabwe Republic Police’s “Operation Chikorokoza Ngachipere”.
They were caught conducting mining activities without required documentation.
President Mnangagwa recently allowed registered miners to resume operations during the Covid-19-induced lockdown extension, but the 26 decided to operate without authority.
National police spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi, said police recovered the illegal miners’ tools, which were held as exhibit.
“Twenty-six people were arrested at Shilite Farm, Mazowe on April 25, for conducting mining activities and operating hammer mills without valid Environmental Impact Assessment Certificates.
“They were arrested during the ongoing Operation Chikorokoza Ngachipere, which we launched end of last year.
“About 17 hammer mills were recovered and suspects will appear in court soon,” Asst-Comm Nyathi said.
He warned the public against operating mining activities without licences that they risk being arrested.
“Members of the public should know that Operation Chikorokoza Ngachipere is an ongoing operation which will not end until illegal mining is curbed. Therefore, we urge everyone to desist from illegal mining activities.
“Officers will always arrest those who continue to break the law,” he said.
Mazowe has been the epicentre of illegal mining in Mashonaland Central Province.
Earlier this year, hundreds of illegal miners were arrested at Jumbo Mine, Mazowe after a spate of criminal activities were recorded in the area.
The illegal miners, who had turned violent, were becoming a threat to the communities, prompting the security services to intervene and seal off Jumbo Mine, which was declared a no go area.
Some of the illegal miners chased from Jumbo Mine went to invade Mazowe Valley in Christon Bank, before they were discovered.
The miners’ activities were also threatening Mbuya Nehanda Shrine, located in the Mazowe Valley, forcing Government to intervene.
The Christon Bank community also raised alarm over the Mazowe River, which was being contaminated by the illegal miners who were using mercury and cyanide in the extraction of gold.