Congo vows to shut down illegal mining following tragedy at Kamoto Copper Co.

Illegal mining

THE Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) would bring an end to illegal mining following an fatal accident on June 27 at the premises of Glencore’s Kamoto Copper Company (KCC) in which 43 people lost their lives, said Reuters citing the country’s interior minister, Basile Olongo.

“From tomorrow, if you come back here, you won’t see anymore clandestines,” Olongo told reporters. “We are going to take measures to evacuate everyone,” he said.

Thursday’s accident, which was near the DRC’s southern border with Zambia, has focused attention on the dangers run by informal miners, who burrow dozens of metres below ground in search of ore using rudimentary tools.

Glencore estimates that 2,000 diggers enter KCC property each day. Tens of thousands more work in and around other major mines across o’s the DRC’s copperbelt, said Reuters.

Olongo did not say how the government planned to make the miners leave. The governor of Lualaba province, where the mine is located, told Reuters on Friday that the army would be deployed to KCC to deter miners from entering.

A Glencore spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.

In June the Congolese army sent hundreds of troops to the nearby Tenke mine, which is owned by China Molybdenum, in response to the presence of as many as 10,000 informal miners there.

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