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  • Apr 19, 2014
  • Updated: 6:47pm
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ZAMBIA

Chinese-owned Collum Coal Mine seized by Zambia over safety concerns

Chinese-owned mine family some 325km south of the Zmabian capital of Lusaka has in the past few years been embroiled in controversy

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 22 February, 2013, 3:26am

The Zambian government has seized control of a Chinese-owned coal company due to poor compliance with safety and environmental standards.

"Collum Coal Mine has had a history of poor safety, health and environmental compliance," Mines Minister Yamfwa Mukanga said. "In view of this, my ministry has with immediate effect cancelled all three small-scale mining licences held by Collum Coal Mine."

Collum Coal Mine has had a history of poor safety, health and environmental compliance. In view of this, my ministry has with immediate effect cancelled all three small-scale mining licences held [by the mine]

"Government has also taken over the running of the mine and will continue to run them until a suitable investor is found."

The mine - owned by a Chinese family and located in Sinazongwe, some 325 kilometres south of the capital, Lusaka - has in the past few years been embroiled in controversy.

In 2010, two Chinese managers were charged with attempted murder after they allegedly opened fire on a group of protesting miners. The charges were later dropped.

Last year, workers at the mine killed a Chinese manager, Wu Shengzai, during rioting over work conditions.

China, which is the largest foreign investor in Zambia, has invested more than US$2 billion into the copper-rich southern African nation and created 50,000 jobs. But relations between Zambian workers and Chinese businesses have been marked by tension, despite attempts by the Zambian government to remedy the situation.

In addition to safety worries at Collum, it had not been paying mineral royalties, Mukanga said.

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