A partial mine collapse has left at least 19 miners dead at Kamoto Copper Company’s KOV copper-cobalt mine in Southeast Congo.
A partial mine collapse has left at least 19 miners dead at Kamoto Copper Company’s KOV copper-cobalt mine in Southeast Congo, with the share price of parent company Glencore (LSE:GLEN,OTC Pink:GLCNF) tumbling in its wake.
According to Richard Muyej, the governor of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Lualaba province, the accident took place within the open-pit mine, which he said is a “delicate site” with many risks.
“It was caused by the clandestine artisanal diggers who have infiltrated (the mine),” Muyej told Reuters. “The old terraces gave way, causing significant amounts of material to fall.”
Glencore subsequently confirmed the accident in a statement, verifying a minimum of 19 fatalities but saying there could be more; according to Reuters, Muyej said that at least 41 miners have perished.
The statement from the major miner explains that the company has experienced a growing trend of illegal artisanal miners at its various mining concessions through Kolwezi, the capital city of Lualaba province. According to Glencore, an average of 2,000 illegal miners intrude on the concessions daily.
“The illegal artisanal miners were working two galleries in benches overlooking the extraction area. Two of these galleries caved in. These incidents were not linked to KCC operations or activities. KCC is currently engaged in assisting search and rescue operations with the local authorities,” it reads.
Kamoto Copper Company is 75 percent owned by Katanga Mining (TSX:KAT,OTC Pink:KATFF), a subsidiary of Glencore. Following the news, Katanga shares were down 1.59 percent on Thursday (June 27) as of 2:22 p.m. EDT on the TSX.
As mentioned, Glencore sank as well. It dropped 4.87 percent to close on the LSE at GBX 263.90, marking the company’s worst day of trading since December 2018, according to Reuters. For the time being, Glencore has stated that the accident hasn’t affected production.
As of Wednesday (June 26), copper was trading at US$6,005 per tonne on the London Metal Exchange.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Olivia Da Silva, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.