Zambia probes mine dump collapse that killed 10

Ten subsistence miners were killed when a copper mine dump known locally as Black Mountain collapsed near Zambia’s second-largest city and mining hub Kitwe. (AFP)
Updated 21 June 2018

Zambia probes mine dump collapse that killed 10

  • Zambia’s mining minister Richard Musukwa blamed the incident, which also left seven people injured, on “people who should not have been in the mine,” describing them as “illegal miners or scavengers.”
  • Ministers were forced to step in last month after small-scale miners at the site began using explosives to extract copper from the mine dump, damaging nearby properties and possibly dislodging the mound.

LUSAKA: Zambia’s mining minister Richard Musukwa announced an investigation on Thursday after 10 people died during the collapse of a mine dump in the country’s copper-producing region.
The subsistence miners were killed on Wednesday when the dump known locally as Black Mountain collapsed in Zambia’s second-largest city and mining hub Kitwe.
Musukwa told parliament “the investigations are still underway and we have suspended operations at the Black Mountain to allow for a forensic investigation.”
Musukwa blamed the incident, which also left seven people injured, on “people who should not have been in the mine,” describing them as “illegal miners or scavengers.”
Local media reported that ministers were forced to step in last month after small-scale miners at the site began using explosives to extract copper from the mine dump, damaging nearby properties and possibly dislodging the mound.
Zambia has some of the world’s largest copper reserves and the metal accounts for as much as 80 percent of the country’s export earnings.
Growing demand for copper has seen prices spike above $3.14 (€2.74) for a pound, according to the InfoMine service.
This has contributed to a surge in illegal mining activity in Zambia which is beset by high levels of unemployment.
Communications and power cables have become a valuable target, both for major gangs and small-time thieves both in Zambia and worldwide.


Thailand’s lost baby dugong dies from shock, eating plastic

Updated 36 min 5 sec ago

Thailand’s lost baby dugong dies from shock, eating plastic

  • Marium, the female baby dugong had already lost her mother when she was initially found
  • Biologists tried saving her, but they believe she died of a combination of the plastic and shock

BANGKOK: An 8-month-old dugong nurtured by marine experts after it was found lost near a beach in southern Thailand has died of what biologists believe was a combination of shock and ingesting plastic waste, officials said Saturday.
The female dugong — a large ocean mammal — was named “Marium” and became a hit in Thailand after images of biologists embracing and feeding her with milk and seagrass spread across social media. Veterinarians and volunteers had set out in canoes to feed Marium up to 15 times a day while also giving her health checks.
Last week, she was found bruised after being chased and supposedly attacked by a male dugong during the mating season, said Jatuporn Buruspat, director-general of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources.
She was brought in for treatment in the artificial sea on Libong Island in Krabi province.
“We assume she wandered off too far from her natural habitat and was chased and eventually attacked by another male dugong, or dugongs, as they feel attracted to her,” Jatuporn said Saturday.
An autopsy showed a big amount of plastic waste in her intestine, which could also have played a part in her death as it led to gastritis and blood infection, he said.
“She must have thought these plastics were edible,” Jatuporn said.
The dugong is a species of marine mammal similar to the American manatee and can grow to about 3.4 meters (11 feet) in length. Its conservation status is listed as vulnerable.
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-arcpha said Marium’s death saddens the whole nation and the world.
“Her death will remind Thais and people all over the world not to dispose trash into the oceans,” Varawut said at a news conference.