MAC: Mines and Communities

DR Congo: more than forty miners killed in mining landslide

Published by MAC on 2019-07-01
Source: Reuters, Bloomberg

Last week, at least 43 mineworkers went to their deaths in DR Congo, when a landslide crushed them at a mine owned by one of the world's premier miners.

Their deaths have not been widely reported by media; those doing so,  offered virtually no details.

DRC's Interior Minister is characterising these victims as "thieves".

Glencore seems to have taken  no active measures to avert the disaster - apart from sticking up "red warning" signs.



Death toll rises to 43 at Glencore mine in Congo after collapse; more expected


28 June 2019

KINSHASA - The number of artisanal miners killed by a landslide at a copper and cobalt mine run by Glencore in southeast Congo rose to 43 on Friday and could climb further as the search for missing workers continues, local officials said.

Thursday’s accident occurred in the KOV open-pit mine at the Kamoto Copper Company (KCC) concession near Democratic Republic of Congo’s southern border with Zambia, in which Glencore subsidiary Katanga Mining has a 75% stake.

The original death toll was estimated at 36 but rose through Thursday evening and into Friday as more bodies were uncovered, the officials said.

“We think that other bodies are still under the rubble,” said Joseph Yav Katshung, the director of cabinet for the governor of the Lualaba province where the incident occurred.

Officials said the miners were working on the site illegally and had no approval or permits, a common occurrence in south Congo and Africa generally. Old-fashioned and unregulated methods, which can compromise safety, cost dozens of lives a year in Congo alone.

A union official representing KCC employees, said a crack in part of the pit had been noticed on Wednesday. He said KCC had put up red warning signs, but the diggers had ignored them.

Glencore in a statement on Thursday confirmed 19 fatalities and said it was assisting search and rescue operations by local authorities.

Reporting By Fiston Mahamba in Kinshasa and Aaron Ross in Dakar Writing by Edward McAllister Editing by Edmund Blair

DRC says it will remove illegal miners from Glencore site


30 June 2019

KINSHASA – Illegal miners will be removed from the site of a Glencore project in the Democratic Republic of Congo where at least 43 died this week, Interior Minister Basile Olongo told reporters from the mine on Saturday.

“From tomorrow, if you come back here, you won’t see any more thieves”, he said from the Kamoto copper and cobalt mine in Kolwezi, in southeastern Congo. “We will take measures to evacuate everyone.”

“It’s sad, it’s true. We have lost our compatriots. But which compatriots? We have lost thieves which came to rob the ore.”

Glencore estimates that 2 000 unauthorised people enter its open-pit mine on average every day. On Thursday, dozens were killed in a landslide. As of Friday, 43 bodies had been recovered, according to local officials.


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