DATE: June 27, 2019
SNIP: The number of artisanal miners killed by a landslide at a copper and cobalt mine run by Glencore in Congo rose to 43 on Friday and officials said the army would deploy at the mine as the search for more victims continued.
“The old terraces gave way, causing significant amounts of material to fall,” Joseph Yav Katshung, the director of cabinet for the governor of Lualaba told Reuters. “KOV is a delicate site and presents many risks.”
Illegal mining has become a growing problem in the Katanga region of the Congo. Local miners in Kolwezi are mining within concessions owned by large companies, threatening their operations as well as their ability to expand to mine new deposits.
The DRC produces more than 60 per cent of the world’s supply of cobalt, a crucial metal for electric car batteries. But last year as much as 30 per cent of cobalt was estimated to have come from miners who dig the metal from the earth without any safety equipment.
Thousands of illegal miners operate in and around mines in southern Congo, which produce more than half of the world’s cobalt, a key component in electric car batteries.
Mine disasters in Africa have cost the lives of numerous miners, especially unauthorised artisanal miners who operate without safety standards or regulations.
At least nine illegal gold miners died in Zimbabwe when they were trapped in a mine last month.
Twenty-two died in a previous Zimbabwean gold-mine flood in February, and 14 tin miners were buried alive in Rwanda after heavy rains in January.
In February, about 20 people died when a truck carrying acid to Glencore’s Mutanda Mine in DRC collided with two other vehicles.