Police in Copperbelt Province, Zambia, are investigating after a group of artisanal miners were allegedly shot by workers at a Chinese-run mining concession in Lufwanyama District on Saturday 23 December 2017. Six men were admitted to the Kitwe Teaching Hospital with gunshots wounds, four of who were treated and then released, with two being retained for further treatment. The men admitted to police that they had entered the site illegally to search for emeralds, having cut through a wire fence to do so. However the Copperbelt Police to not believe that this would, in itself, be enough to justify shooting the men, and are currently investigating two possible crimes.
An artisanal miner being treated at Kitwe Teaching Hospital in Lufwanyama District, Zambia, after allegedly being shot at a Chinese-run mining concession. Nkombo Kachemba/Lusaka Times.
Like may other African countries has granted concessions to mining companies in areas where small-scale artisanal mining has traditionally helped to supplement the incomes of subsistence farmers. This provides an important source of revenue for governments, however, little of the money from such projects tends to reach local communities, which often leads to ill feeling and attempts to continue mining clandestinely, which can result in tension or even clashes between mine operators and local populations.
Follow Sciency Thoughts on Facebook.