At least 20 miners have been trapped underground after a shaft collapsed in central Zimbabwe, according to state media.

The police on Thursday said at least two bodies had been recovered as rescue efforts continue.

Police spokesman Paul Nyathi said the miners have been trapped since Wednesday when they entered the night shift at the gold mine near the city of Kwekwe.

Operators were first alerted early on Thursday after the miners failed to surface at the end of their shift.

“We received the news about the unfortunate incident a few hours ago and we are running around coordinating a rescue mission,” the chair of provincial civil protection unit, Fortune Mpungu, told The Herald newspaper.

In February last year, dozens of artisanal miners were trapped after tunnels flooded in the west of the Zimbabwean capital, Harare. Twenty-four bodies were later recovered and eight people rescued.

Fears remained that many others remained underground because the unregulated nature of the mining made it difficult to account for everyone.

Mining is often carried out by ill-equipped artisanal miners who sometimes invade abandoned mines. They are often trapped underground.

Mining is a major source of foreign currency for Zimbabwe, a country grappling with a major economic crisis.

The Southern African country is home to vast gold and mineral reserves, including diamonds and platinum.


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