Home » Zambia Landslide: First Survivor Rescued After Six Days, Hope for More

Zambia Landslide: First Survivor Rescued After Six Days, Hope for More

Rescue workers in Zambia have pulled out the first survivor of a December 1 landslide that inundated a copper mine and trapped at least 25 people who were working there illegally.

by Motoni Olodun

A man who was trapped in a collapsed copper mine in Zambia for six days has been rescued alive, raising hopes that more survivors could be found. The 49-year-old miner was one of at least 25 people who were working illegally at the Seseli mine in Chingola when heavy rains triggered a landslide on December 1.

The rescue team also recovered one body, which has not been identified yet, according to the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU). The DMMU said the survivor was being treated in hospital and was in stable condition.

The rescue operation, which involves military personnel and experts from large-scale mining companies, has been hampered by soft ground and flooding in the pit. The miners are believed to be trapped in three different locations, some as deep as 60 meters below the surface.

Zambia’s President Hakainde Hichilema said he was still hopeful that more miners were alive and praised the rescuers for their efforts. “We express gratitude to the rescuers and volunteers working tirelessly to reach those still trapped,” he said on his official Facebook page.

The Seseli mine was previously owned by Vedanta’s Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) but is now in the hands of a local company that is awaiting safety and environmental approvals to start operations. The mine is located in the copper belt region, which accounts for most of Zambia’s copper production and exports.

Zambia is one of the world’s largest copper producers and relies heavily on the metal for its foreign exchange earnings. Copper prices have surged in recent years due to strong demand from China and the global transition to green energy.

However, the mining sector also faces challenges such as high debt, environmental degradation, and social unrest. In October, the Zambian government gave a 90-day amnesty to all illegal miners to regularize their operations and avoid accidents like the Seseli landslide.

The government also announced reforms to the mining sector, such as reducing taxes, improving transparency, and promoting value addition and diversification. The aim is to make the sector more sustainable and inclusive for the benefit of the Zambian people.

Source: Reuters


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