Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Two illegal miners die in Chingola

George Sichula

Chingola District Commissioner George Sichula has said two illegal miners have died in Chingola after the disused pit in which they were quarrying had collapsed on them.

The accident comes barely two weeks after two more illegal miners had died leaving another serious injured.

Mr Sichula said the duo had gone for their usual illegal business of quarrying at Chingola Open Pit (COP) ‘A’ last night and went into the tunnels’ without knowing that it had started raining.

“After the rains, the weaker ground collapsed and swept the mud rush into the tunnel in which the duo was conducting their activities. One body was found lying in the tunnel by the day shift crew of illegal miners who knew that the deceased had gone there with a friend. They later found the shoes of the other illegal miner whose body has not yet been unearthed,” he said.

The DC said high demand for copper and unemployment levels was the root cause of illegal mining activities which had resulted in loss of lives.

Mr Sichula said the high demand compels the youths to go and mine in very risk areas just because the buyers have ready cash.

“My Government has encouraged people of all age groups to visit the office the DCs in the country and inquire of Government empowerment policies. I have been advising these illegal miners to come and sit down with me so that we later rehears with the Minister on how to empower the youths using Youth Empowerment Fund and other age groups using the Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission Funds (CEEC).

“Government is saddened with the number of lives that we loose through illegal mining per year. Lately we have found out that some of the buyers have mining licences from Northwestern province but they purport to be mining here. As Government we have embarked on the scrutiny method of the buyers,” he said.

He said his office and Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) who in this case is just an interested party; will call a stakeholders meeting and chat the way forward.

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