First survivor pulled from collapsed mine in Zambia

THE first survivor of a landslide that inundated an open pit copper mine in Zambia has been  rescued, said Reuters.

The rescue team also retrieved two bodies, which were yet to be identified, the newswire said citing the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit said in posting on Facebook.

“A 49-year-old man has been rescued from the collapsed mine slug dump site in Chingola after being trapped with several other miners,” the unit said, adding that he was being treated in hospital.

Zambia’s president Hakainde Hichilema said on Tuesday he was still hopeful that the trapped miners were alive, as rescue efforts continued.

Reuters said the miners at Seseli Mine in Chingola, about 400 km (250 miles) northwest of Lusaka, were trapped in three locations and heavy rains had flooded the pit. They had been operating without a mining permit.

The mine was previously owned by Vedanta’s Konkola Copper Mines but is now in the hands of a local company that is yet to start mining operations as it awaits safety and environmental approvals.

Copperbelt Minister Elisha Matambo said on Wednesday more family members had come forward with claims of missing relatives, raising the number of those trapped to at least 38.

“We still have hope that we will find others who will be alive,” Matambo said during a media briefing.

Rescue workers, including military personnel and others from large-scale mining companies, were being cautious due to soft ground, slowing down the operation.