Photos shared on social media show desks, benches and school bags in the hole (Image: Twitter)

At least 17 primary school children in Zimbabwe were injured when a huge hole in the sink, believed to be caused by mining, swallowed up a classroom.

One child was seriously injured, while others are being treated in hospital for minor abrasions, it has been reported.

Local authorities blame uncontrolled mining for the incident at the Globe and City School in central Kwekwe.

There are two gold mines in the area, and the school board had reportedly complained about illegal mining under the facility in the past.

Photos shared on social media show the hole full of desks, couches and school bags.

Local lawmaker Judith Tobaiwa, who visited the school after the incident, told AFP that 17 students aged between 10 and 11 were injured, one of them seriously.

Of the miners, she said, “They are still knocking and the whole school building is shaking.”

Local lawmaker Judith Tobaiwa points to the sinkhole and elementary school (Photo: @JudithTobaiwa2/Twitter)

Hon Judith Tobaiwa @JudithTobaiwa2 In the Globe and Phoenix Primary where a classroom with students in it collapsed and so far the number of students hospitalized is now 13. It's not too long ago that I recommended acting immediately after I left school and noticed the signs.  for authorities 2 hear 9:00?  March 16, 2023?  –

People gathered at the school after the incident (Image: @JudithTobaiwa2/Twitter)

She posted photos of the scene on Twitter, writing: “It’s not too long ago that I recommended immediate action after visiting the school and noticing the signs. It’s important that authorities listen.”

Provincial Affairs Minister Larry Mavima said authorities had ordered the school closed and were trying to find alternative housing for the students.

“As a government, we are deeply shocked by this incident and disappointed that miners have not taken the necessary measures to secure the area to prevent such an accident,” he said.

He added that an investigation has been launched to find out why it happened and who is responsible.

The landlocked South African country has huge gold reserves, with gold accounting for a third of all exports in May last year, reports.

There are hundreds of thousands of small-scale, informal miners in Zimbabwe, many of whom operate illegally.