Two illegal Zimbabwean miners have died after the gold mine they were working in collapsed, while 20 others remained trapped underground, the state-owned Herald newspaper reported on Thursday.
The newspaper quoted a Civil Protection Unit (CPU) official in Kwekwe district, 200 km south-west of the capital Harare, saying a rescue team had found two bodies but was yet to start rescuing the trapped miners.
Head of the CPU Nathan Nkomo said he could not immediately comment.
The accident comes a year after at least 22 miners died near Kwekwe, which highlighted the risks run by illegal gold miners in Zimbabwe.
In the latest accident, the miners were illegally mining at Globe and Phoenix gold mine. They entered the shaft on Wednesday night but did not emerge as expected on Thursday morning, the Herald said.
Kwekwe and the areas are rich in gold deposits and popular with artisanal miners, known locally as “Makorokoza” or hustlers, who use picks and shovels and generator-powered water pumps.
In the past month police have arrested hundreds of illegal miners involved in violent turf wars for mining claims.
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