THE atmosphere at Glencore’s Kamoto Copper Mines (KCC) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was tense after artisanal miners defied a government army to leave the premises, said Reuters citing a union official.
A landslide on June 27 resulted in 43 artisanal miners working illegally on the KCC premises losing their lives. The DRC government consequently said it would remove any of the other artisanal miners and has raised the prospect of the army assisting it.
Delphin Monga, provincial secretary of the UCDT union, which represents KCC employees, told Reuters that illegal miners inside the concession continued to work undisturbed and some had even thrown rocks at company vehicles. “The miners have come back in even larger numbers than usual,” he said.
Some clashes broke out on Monday between miners and police. At least two officers’ weapons were seized at one point, Yav and Monga said. One miner and one police officer were injured, Monga said.
Last week, the army evicted thousands of miners from China Molybdenum’s nearby Tenke Fungurume mine, said Reuters. Numbi said the soldiers did not fire a single shot.
However, African Resources Watch, a watchdog based in the city of Lubumbashi, said in a statement that the army fired live rounds to disperse miners. It cited residents of the village of Kisanfu as saying three people died from gunshot wounds.