Pits of hell: zama zamas are paying with their lives

Business

Pits of hell: zama zamas are paying with their lives

The death of 43 'artisanal' miners in the DRC highlights the conflict between outside companies and residents

Jon Yeomans

At least 43 illegal miners died last month when two tunnels collapsed on a site in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), but the true death toll may never been known. Welcome to the dangerous world of “artisanal” mining, where people risk life and limb to mine valuable commodities.

The latest tragedy struck at a site owned by Kamoto Copper Company, a subsidiary of FTSE 100 giant Glencore. The company has reported incursions of up to 2,000 people a day on its giant mining concession, which, at 2,000 hectares, is difficult to secure.

Glencore confirmed last week that the Congolese army had entered the area to remove trespassers, although it said the company had not invited the troops in. This follows similar army intervention at a mine owned by China Molybdenum last month...

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