At least 43 people were killed on Thursday in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) when two galleries collapsed in a mine run by the Kamoto Copper Company (KCC), a subsidiary of Swiss-based commodity trader and miner Glencore.
The figure of 43 victims was given on Friday by the governor of the province of Lualaba. Sources at the Red Cross and civil society talked about 60-80 deaths.
Glencore had said in a statementexternal link on Thursday that 19 people had died “with possible further unconfirmed fatalities”.
“The illegal artisanal miners were working two galleries in benches overlooking the extraction area. Two of these galleries caved in. These incidents were not linked to KCC operations or activities. KCC is currently engaged in assisting search and rescue operations with the local authorities,” Glencore said.
“KCC urges all illegal miners to cease from putting their lives at risk by trespassing on a major industrial site. KCC is doing what it can to inform the communities of the dangers associated with illegal trespassing on major industrial concessions.”
In the statement, Glencore said KCC had observed a growing presence of illegal artisanal miners throughout its industrial mining concessions in the Kolwezi area.
“This has led to daily intrusions onto its concession by on average 2,000 illegal artisanal miners per day. This has presented a significant risk to its employees, operating equipment and the illegal artisanal miners themselves.”