File photo: Rick Kimpbell

Harare – At least six people are feared dead after mine owners filled in two mine shafts at a Zimbabwe gold mine to prevent illegal mining.

They are believed to have been buried in a mine near Chegutu, 125 km south west of Harare in Zimbabwe last Friday, according to the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, (ZBC).

It said the owners of what they called Pixton mine did not realise that the six illegal miners were still underground in the shafts when they ordered them to be filled in with rocks and soil.

Another illegal miner, Peter Mawoko, told the ZBC News that he left three people underground just before the filling in of the shafts began.

He said he has not seen his colleagues since then. Other panners say three other illegal miners are also feared trapped in the second shaft as they are also missing.

ZBC said a mechanical excavator was expected at the site of the accident later Tuesday to try and retrieve the six panners.

Officials from the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development and representatives of so-called Pixton Mine were also at the site of the mishap.

Mining records indicate that the real name of this rich gold mine is probably Pickstone-Peerless, but management of that company did not answer its mobile phones Tuesday.

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