GOLD panners are costing the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) millions of dollars annually through vandalism of railway infrastructure by mining along railway lines across the country.
Illegal gold mining has contributed to train accidents that have led to the death of three people in the last 18 months.
The NRZ said Esigodini and Beitbridge in Matabeleland South, Shurugwi, Kwekwe in the Midlands and Bindura in Mashonaland Central are some of the areas that have been hard hit by the gold panning activities.
Government recently took a position to deploy security agents in Beitbridge to ward off gold panners operating along the railway line.
NRZ is now running a campaign aimed at identifying and arresting those damaging the railway infrastructure across the country.
In an interview yesterday, NRZ public relations manager Mr Nyasha Maravanyika said while Government deployed security agents to Beitbridge the problem is widespread in most areas with gold.
“It’s very massive especially in most parts of the country. The Minister (of Transport and Infrastructure Development Felix Mhona) mentioned Beitbridge but this is happening in many places. Other areas are Bindura, Kwekwe in the Great Dyke and Shurugwi, Esigodini and Beitbridge. These are the main areas that are hit by the illegal gold miners. Most of the time they conduct mining operations under the railway line,” said Mr Maravanyika.
“You will find that the railway line rests on big holes and this affects the railway line as there will be no balance and at the end of day, we lose millions in terms of money and lives are lost as well. The NRZ has taken a proactive role in terms of alerting the Government about the illegal gold panning