Small Scale Miners
Small Scale Miners

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.

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18 COMMENTS

  1. Why call them “illegal miners”? In Lungu’s Zambia, legality has gone out the door. Where Zimbabwe is struggling to come back from, is where Zambia is headed under Lungu.
    Just yesterday some PF cadres beat up councillors in chibombo for opposing the awarding of a contract to a poor performing PF aligned contractor. What kind of country is this?

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    • Richard Musukwa will tell you the place is safe, after a disaster strikes he will continue working as if all is well, no shame, no accountability, no responsibility. And the appointing authority will just be looking at him. This is Zambia, ladies and gentlemen

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    • Until some dies and BBC covers the story…then some hungry disgraced PF chap will pop and say people are tarnishing the image of the country. How about PF does the right thing!!

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  2. 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.

    The govt should come up with state owned ventures such as state farms to enhance food production in the country. After all, we have abundant labor. Each province should have at-least five state highly mechanized farms where these youths should be employed full time. Otherwise, this is a time bomb we are seating own.

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    • @2 Charles…SPOT ON , my thoughts too.. DIG TRENCHES,CRAWLING UNDER CAVES, LIFTING SOILS and WASHING IT TO ISOLATE COPPER ORE, IS OR MAY EVEN BE MORE LABORIOUS THAN FARM WORK, WHERE SOME ONE CAN OVER COME BOTH HUNGER AND SEVERE POVERTY THESE MEN ARE COMPLAINING ABOUT!!We have way too many people in urban areas who are not supposed to be there who are resorting to illegalities instead of being more productive and contributing to diversifying the economy! I support your idea, WE NEED A SERIOUS GOVT, IN FACT SOME OF THE THE LARGE FARMS CAN BE RUN IN PARTNERSHIP WITH PRIVATE SECTOR ON BASIS OF OUT GROWERS’ SCHEMES!!

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    • These are good thoughts people. I wonder whether our leaders sit down and think how they are going to solve the unemployment crisis. Do they even bother??

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  3. “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”. And then it suddenly dawned on them that the youth are unemployed. Ahh

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  4. Another disaster looming. Mining without safe work procedures/best operating practices in place is always fatal.Richard Musukwa must immediately stop this illegal mining activity to prevent a recurrence of what happened at Kitwe’s Black Mountain!

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  5. First it is: “Working out”, “Committed”, “Vision 2030”, “Promise”… and the vocabulary continues to grow. Mpaka cadilika… then it will be “They were thieves”, “Not our baby”, “Activity suspended” and so on and stuff like that.

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  6. What is Chrome on copper Dump site?

    And what is SLUG?

    Abututu is not bad as long as you keep it to yourself. No one will ever know ati ulimututu.

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    • @6 Apparatchik, GOOD OBSERVATION, the author just picked the misguided word used among locals without researching what it means. Chrome(Chromite) is a different mineral all together (which for now we don’t even mine, otherwise we could have been producing chromium) but some people call certain copper slugs of a certain color as it resembles chrome in appearance.

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  7. If the picture above is where the mining is taking place, then it’s not a ” black” mountain it’s a Slime Dam.

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  8. These are part of the 500,000 or the 1.5 million jobs pa lungu promised …..

    Tiye …..tiye….dunnuna…..iwe…..

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  9. What disaster, at least they are creating employment for them selves which by the way govt couldn’t. they are not stealing from any one which the current leadership in govt does.

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  10. GRZ has failed….these guys are now trying whatever they can do to put food on the table.
    Shame….what is the future for such people….

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