Government has warned that it will take stern measures against those causing violent disturbances within the informal mining sector.

The warning follows recent violent battles at Etna Mine near Kadoma where scores of artisanal miners were seriously injured following clashes between two rival groups fighting over control of shafts.

Mines and Mining Development Minister, Cde Walter Chidhakwa said the violent clashes in the informal mining sector are a threat to national security and will not be allowed to continue unchecked.

He said mining is about peaceful extraction of mineral resources for the benefit of individuals and the country, adding that the nation’s image cannot be jeopardised by a few individuals who fail to handle precious minerals, gold in this case.

Home Affairs Minister, Dr Ignatius Chombo said possession of dangerous weapons such as machetes, catapults, knobkerries and other tools used by the rival groups at Etna Mine is illegal.

He urged the miners to desist from being violent, and called on the sector to give the Mines Ministry an opportunity to work out a framework for promoting orderly and organised mining.

There are also reports that violent clashes between artisanal miners erupted in Zvishavane last week.

At Etna Mine last week, scores of informal miners were seriously injured and other left hospitalised following armed clashes between rival groups over control of some mining shafts.