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
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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.


Sri Lanka president seeks talks to end power struggle

Updated 8 min 43 sec ago
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Sri Lanka president seeks talks to end power struggle

  • For 19 days, Sri Lanka had two claimants to the prime minister’s post
  • Both sides have also warned that a prolonged power vacuum could lead to unrest

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena on Sunday called crucial talks with political leaders in a bid to end a power struggle with the prime minister he sacked last month.
The Indian Ocean nation has been paralyzed since October 26 when Sirisena deposed Ranil Wickremesinghe as premier and replaced him with a former rival Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Wickremesinghe insists he is still prime minister while parliament voted twice last week to reject Rajapaksa.
“President Sirisena will chair a meeting of representatives of political parties in parliament today,” his office said in a statement.
“The president has called this meeting in order to end the current political unrest and conflict situation and to allow the normal functioning of the parliament.”
Brawling erupted in parliament with Rajapaksa loyalists smashing furniture, throwing chilli powder and projectiles at rivals in a bid to disrupt a no-confidence motion against the disputed prime minister.
After the second vote against Rajapaksa on Friday, Wickremesinghe demanded that his government be restored, but there has been no response from Sirisena yet.
Wickremesinghe has said Sri Lanka needs “stability” and that he was ready to work with Sirisena despite the personality clash that triggered the constitutional crisis.
After sacking Wickremesinghe on October 26, Sirisena dissolved parliament on November 9, but the Supreme Court suspended his action and restored parliament pending a full hearing into the legality of his actions.
For 19 days, Sri Lanka had two claimants to the prime minister’s post, but on Thursday parliament speaker Karu Jayasuriya held that he would recognize neither as premier. Officially, Sri Lanka no longer has a government.
Legislators say that with the administration at a stand still key sectors such as tourism are taking a serious battering.
Both sides have also warned that a prolonged power vacuum could lead to unrest.