More than 100 illegal copper miners commonly known as Jerabos yesterday morning escaped unhurt when part of the slug they were working in at Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) dumpsite in Kitwe collapsed.
The slug dump, which is believed to have been sold to one of the mining companies in Chambishi, collapsed in the morning, sending some Jerabos scampering for their lives.
On hearing about the incident, Kitwe district police commanding officer Fred Mulenga , Rokana ward Councillor Gift Kalumba, fire fighters and other safety agencies rushed to the scene to make sure nobody was still trapped under the slug
One of the Jerabos who identified himself as James told the Daily Nation at the scene that they had decided to abandon their daily works at the dumpsite because it was dangerous to work under such conditions
“Ba mudala teti ndebomba nimbona kale ati nachipona po kale. Kuti chakuponena wafwa no kufwa (I can’t be working when I have already seen that some parts of the slug dump have collapsed. It may kill me),” said James
But, while some Jerabos were thinking of abandoning the collapsed slug altogether, others waited for the police officers to leave the place so that they could go back and continue with their work as the dumpsite was their only source of income”Twalapembela fye ba police baleya elo tubwekelemo pantu ubu mwine emotusangila impiya kabili takwaba incito nomba (We just have to wait for the police to leave the place so that we go back and continue with our work. This is our source of income, as you know, there is no employment in this country),” said one Jerabo identified as Emmanuel.