A LANDSLIDE at Glencore’s largest copper and cobalt mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has killed 43 illegal miners.
The accident occurred on 27 June at the site of the Kamoto Copper Company (KCC), which is a subsidiary of Glencore. Two terraces (narrow strips cut into the open pit) collapsed and killed at least 43 miners working illegally in the pit. According to mining.com, Delphin Monga, Provincial Secretary of the UCDT union which represents KCC employees, said that a crack in part of the pit had been observed the previous day and that KCC had put up warning signs, which had been ignored by the miners.
According to Bloomberg, illegal mining is a major problem in Africa, with workers sometimes tunnelling under walls to break into a mine site, and in some cases living underground to extract ore with a pick-axe. The DRC is one of the world’s biggest producers of copper and cobalt, but also one of the world’s poorest countries.
Glencore has estimated that around 2,000 illegal miners enter the KCC property every day, and urged the miners to stop putting their lives at risk by breaking into a large industrial site. Glencore said that it is assisting in search-and-rescue operations and that the accident has not impacted production.
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