Over 6000 members of the Danangwe District Youth in Mining Cooperative (DDYMC) in Chegutu East face an uncertain future after mining firm, Breckridge Investments ordered the artisanal miners to stop operations at Giant Mine.
The miners have been carrying out mining activities at Giant Mine, 10km north of Chegutu town since 2012.
Their future however hangs in the balance after Breckridge Investments, which claims ownership of the mine, ordered them off the premises.
“We are hereby instructed to give you and your members notice to forthwith cease all illegal mining and related activities in our client’s claims and to immediately remove any equipment, infrastructure, vehicles and personnel you may have already set up for the purposes of your illegal mining activities,’’ reads part of the letter from Breckridge Investments’ lawyers to Danangwe District Youth in Mining Cooperative dated 28 February 2018.
The miners are however fighting against the eviction, arguing that they are exploiting a resource which has been left untapped for many years by the mining giant.
They also argue that they are working on merely 3 blocks out of the over 300 claims that Breckridge Investments owns in Chegutu.
DDYMC Chairperson, Stewart Luckford said since 2012, the cooperative delivered 405kgs of gold to Fidelity Printers and Refiners.
“Breckrdige acquired this mine 45 years ago but has never embarked on mining activities. Now it’s coming because we the youths are mining,” he said.
Contacted for comment, Breckridge Investments lawyer, Zwelibanzi Lunga said the artisanal miners don’t have tribute agreement with the mine owners, hence they are operating illegally.
He also noted the argument that they are only utilising just a small area of the mine does not hold any substance as the mine has legal owners.