A 13-year-old boy’s drowning in Zambia has led to growing outrage from nearby residents, who allege that illegal miners are ruining the environment and causing the Zambian authorities to shut down more than 30 of their operations.
The announcement of the boy’s death came on Jan. 17, but locals haven’t had time to go to school since then, and even a snowstorm in recent days hasn’t managed to push them back to class.
“Our boys are drowning here in mining – it is horrible,” Charles Mbayo, 37, who works as a field worker in the area, told VOXXI. “We do not own the land and have no right to a mine on our land. It is not fair that the children of mine workers are dying due to the mining operation when the people who started the mine … are selling land to develop the area.”
Mbayo further alleged that the government’s decision to close the operation has left him without a job.
“There are 28 illegal mines there, but the Mines Minister wants to close them because mining is a bad habit and a time-consuming process, but the main thing is that the miners working on the outside of the mine are being robbed and are being terrorized,” he continued. “We want to tell the Mines Minister that he will not be able to do anything because we already have it bad as it is.”
Although some in the small town of Julanta have begun complaining about illegal mining, they’re afraid that it’s unfair to blame those responsible for what’s happening.
“No one should blame the mine owners – we the mine workers are responsible,” another resident told VOXXI. “With the mine owners, if we let them do their thing they will be back. We need to blame those who exploit the mine workers.”
Illegal mining is a global problem, and with Zambia the sixth-poorest country in the world in terms of GDP per capita, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that locals are seeking to make a quick buck in the world’s second-largest copper producer.
The demands of Zambia’s copper miners have forced the government to take action. Some 22 illegal mining operations have been ordered to close down, Reuters reported.
Source: Daily Mail