Gold mining was been carried out in the area around Penhalonga for a considerable period of time and the Mutare River that flows down from the Penhalonga Valley had rich alluvial gold in its gravel beds. Evidence exists of ancient alluvial gold workings along the Mutare and its tributaries, the Imbeza and Tsambe Rivers.
The two earliest gold claims in the Umtali district were laid out in 1888 by British mining engineer James Henry Jeffreys. The district was then considered to be part of province of Manica, Portuguese East Africa. Jeffreys decided to name the mining claims after officials from the Companhia de Moçambique and the first gold claim was named Penhalonga, after Count Penhalonga, chairman of Companhia de Moçambique, and the second claim named for Baron de Rezende, the Mozambique Company’s Director of Operations on Africa.
In 1890, the area was annexed by the Pioneer Column, an armed force representing the British South Africa Company (BSAC). The BSAC representatives for the region (Archibald Ross Colquhoun and Frederick Courteney Selous) “got a concession” from Jeffreys in September, 1890, effectively taking control of the mining tracts in the name of Cecil Rhodes. Jeffreys however remained on at the mine, and played a major role in its development.
The Penhalonga Mine was officially opened in 1895. In the early 1900’s over 160 gold mines were pegged and worked. . The mine closed in 1943.
- The Penhalonga Gold Mine, Zimbabwe – Daniel Russell