BLAME GAME: Scott Sakupwanya’s Better Brands speaks on Redwing Mine accident

Metallon Gold, Better Brands trade blame after 15 artisanal miners’ escaped death

By Tapiwa Svondo

Zanu PF MP and gold magnate Scott Sakupwanya’s Better Brands Mining (BBM) has broken its silence over the recent Redwing Mine accident which saw 15 miners rescued from a shaft collapse after a hellish three days underground.

The once thriving gold mine run by Metallon Gold in Penhalonga just outside Mutare was seized by the Zanu PF politician and top ally to President Emmerson Mnangagwa after it ran into financial distress 2019.

Reacting to the recent incident, Metallon Corporation, Redwing Mine’s parent company, issued a statement distancing itself from the disaster.


Similarly, Better Brands Mining has also denied anything to do with the mishap and further distanced Sakupwanya from the chaos that has rocked the mine for years.

BBM general manager Cuthbert Chitima saying “the recent incident did not happen within our working areas”.

“I suggest you communicate with the team on the ground and (mining) ministry officials to get the correct position.

“Even when the minister gave his speech he was very clear.”

Chitima added, “Honourable Dr Sakupwanya is an investor in BBM. He has no direct influence on activities on the ground.

“There is a capable management team on the ground responsible for all activities at the mine.

“This team has worked tirelessly assisting Metallon with the accident and the rescue of the trapped miners; reporting the same to the Ministry and Honourable Dr Sakupwanya.”

When Sakupwanya took control, he abandoned safe mining practices which were done by Redwing Mine in place of the fast but highly risky practice where thousands of youths are hired to break the stubborn earth using picks and shovels in search of the precious mineral.

The outcome has been a tale of death, plunder and environmental destruction.

NGOs closely monitoring the situation say over 100 artisanal miners have died underground since then with no compensation.

Chitima however said his company “always practices safe mining; safety is prioritised and upheld throughout the mining process.

“Proactive measures are implemented such as use of PPE, shaft timbering, and safety signage. Daily, pre-shift, and periodically safety talks are also upheld.

“Strict monitoring and maintenance is done by the production team to ensure adherence to safety.

“The Protto Team is well funded and trained in case of emergency situations.”

He also commented on the model used by Better Brands Mining in extracting the precious mineral.

“The artisanal mining model in use is a 50-50 basis. The sponsor is responsible for ore mining equipment supply and provision of labour force,” Chitima said.

“The sponsor is thus responsible and accountable for own employees and compensatory benefits with be in accordance with employment terms.

“In events of mine accidents that result in loss of life, BBM does assist on funeral and burial.” X – @zimstar_news

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