08 Dec 2023, 19:34

Zambia urges hope as races to find trapped miners

LUSAKA, Dec 8, 2023 (BSS/AFP) - A week after dozens of miners were buried by a mudslide in Zambia, the government said Friday it was committed to rescuing all those still trapped underground.

Vice President Mutale Nalumango told parliament that operations to retrieve the about 36 workers would continue indefinitely, after a survivor was pulled from the rubble earlier this week.

"I urge the nation and the affected families to remain hopeful," she said.

"The government is doing everything possible to rescue the trapped miners."

The miners became trapped last week when torrential rains set off a torrent of mud that buried the open cast mine in Zambia's main copperbelt region.

A 49-year-old was rescued alive on Tuesday evening after five days below ground.

Nalumango said the man was undergoing treatment at a local hospital where his condition has "greatly improved".

But as time passes, hopes are dimming for others.
No-one else has been discovered since authorities said on Wednesday they had found two dead miners.

Nalumango said that family members of those trapped would be asked to be at the site to ease the identification process as more bodies are expected to be pulled out.

The army, police and disaster management units were among those involved in search and rescue operations at the mine in the Chingola region, around 400 kilometres (250 miles) north of the capital, Lusaka.

Water has been pumped out of one of three mining sites that were swamped by mud, Nalumango said.

Further excavations were ongoing.

Zambia is one of the world's largest copper producers and Chingola, in the country's Copperbelt Province, is a hotbed of illegal open-pit mining.

Deadly accidents are frequent.
The region has one of the world's largest open-cast copper mines and some of the waste piles reach up to 100 metres (300 feet) in height.