The price miners continue to pay - in Zambia, China and BurmaPublished by MAC on 2005-07-13
The price miners continue to pay - in Zambia, China and Burma
As Africa's Initiative on Mining, Environment and Society (AIMES) annual conference was underway earlier this month in Zambia, China's leading news agency boasted of vigorous new investment in the central African state.
What wasn't highlighted is that the Chinese-owned explosives plant at the Chambesi mine (operated by the British company NFC Mining) recently blew up, killing 52 workers. Despite this, Chinese investors are reported to be urging the Zambian government to overcome "problems" caused by "restrictive labour laws" (for which read: workers' protection) and the right to strike.
A few days later, another massive explosion struck a mine in China, causing the deaths of at least 83 workers.
And in Burma - where Chinese mining investment has been critical to propping up the dicatorship - numerous deaths were reported at the same time when workings collapsed at a gem mine jointly run by the military.