A disaster is looming at the Luanshya Copper Mines where hundreds of illegal miners armed with picks and steel rods are risking their lives by digging for copper and chrome at one of the mine’s two Black Mountains.
The illegal miners, who are mostly youths, have over the past months dug several underground caves in search for copper and chrome in unsafe conditions.
One of the leaders of the illegal miners’ Bernard Mulenga, who is commonly known as PISTO, says the small-scale miners risk their lives in search of a living.
Mr. Mulenga, who is a former convict, says through illegal mining, they make money to feed their families and take children to school.
He told ZNBC News that despite the dangers of being buried alive, poverty forces them to do illegal work to raise money.
Another illegal miner Evans Kabanda has asked President Edgar Lungu to consider giving the copper rich slug dump in Luanshya to the youths.
Mr. Kabanda said just like he did to the youths of Kitwe, President LUNGU should consider empowering youths in Luanshya with the two Black Mountains to reduce unemployment in the mining town.
But Luanshya District Commissioner Joel Chibuye, who recently visited the site, expressed concern that the continued illegal mining at Luanshya Copper Mines may be fatal.
Mr. Chibuye said government is now working out plans to find ways in which the youths can be helped to avoid illegally digging minerals in unsafe caves.