At least ten people were killed on Wednesday after a mine dump collapsed in Kitwe in Zambia’s northern Copperbelt Province.
Local media reported that about 50 small-scale miners were working at the copper waste dumping site known locally as Black Mountain.
“We have received 10 dead bodies. We also have six people in the theatre and another in critical condition,” Kitwe Central Hospital spokesperson Phoebe Chileya told reporters.
Copperbelt Police Commissioner Charity Katanga said the incident was caused by an excavator operating on top of the slug dump.
The death toll is expected to rise as rescue operations are ongoing.
Zambia’s Mines Minister Richard Musukwa said the government has suspended mining operations at the Black Mountain.
Similar fatal incidents have been witnessed in the copper-rich area in recent years despite concerns raised on safety.
In February, the government gave a 10 per cent stake in the mine dump to artisanal miners, mainly youths, to offer them an economic lifeline.