Mutasa South legislator Regai Tsunga has sought audience with the ministry of mines following the invasion of Africa University by illegal gold miners who are reportedly digging tunnels that could damage infrastructure at the higher learning institution.
Tsunga who initially raised the concerns at a constituency feedback meeting organized by the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD), said the impasse is yet to be resolved.
There are fears that tunnels which are suspected to have extended beneath the university, could cause structural damage to infrastructure, said Tsunga.
Africa University is located close to troubled Mettallon Corporation gold concern Redwing Mine, which recently stopped operations citing viability challenges.
Tsunga said he engaged AU vice-chancellor Munashe Furusa who raised the red flag, and are now in the process of engaging mining and government leadership over this issue.
“We are going to be engaging the local authorities, Ministry of mines officials as well as the leadership at the institution to resolve this impasse.
“The university is adversely impacted by illegal mining activities around the institution and there are fears that some tunnels are extending beneath the university which can cause structural damages to the university infrastructure,” said Tsunga.
The legislator said stakeholders should find solutions to illegal mining, which has seen many people losing limbs or life to machete-wielding artisanal miners.
Tsunga added: “This might affect the university economy in-terms of capacity to get international support from their partners. There is need for an all-stakeholder roundtable in Mutasa to discuss the issue surrounding illegal and artisanal mining in Penhalonga.
AU vice chancellor Professor Munashe Furusa said they are pushing for a speedy resolution of the impasse with artisanal miners through an all stakeholders meeting.
“On our part, we have carried out our own investigations and we managed to engage with some of the artisanal miners sensitizing them on the need to respect property rights, but this can only be fully resolved through an all stakeholders meeting,” said Prof Furusa