Those Destroying Our Lands Will Hear From Us, Umahi Threatens Miners

 

Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, has threatened to sanction miners who dig pits within Ebonyi, unearth mineral resources, and leave the mineshafts uncovered, thereby making them deathtraps across the state.

Umahi who was very unhappy that miners are benefitting from the state without giving back to the people said his government will ensure they are held accountable for the devastations they have caused so far.

“You destroy the people and even destroy their future; and the Ebonyians that collaborate with these enemies of the state, they will hear from us,” the governor said on Monday.

 

A Deadly Plunge

Governor Umahi’s comments come on the same day when the decomposing body of the All Progressives Congress (APC) youth leader in Ebonyi State, Ogochukwu Elem, was pulled from a mining pit in Abakaliki.

Also pulled from the ditch were the bodies of two others who were with him when his car, a Volkswagen Golf, plunged into the trench on Saturday.

The State Ministry of Infrastructure availed a crane which was used in pulling the bodies, with the help of local divers.

It was gathered that Mr Elem and the other occupants were on their way to Ikwo for a function when the car lost control and plunged into the pit, off the Abakaliki-Ikwo Road.

The incident happened at Enyigba axis of the road in Abakaliki Local Government Area.

Efforts to bring out the victims and the car failed on Saturday and Sunday.

Governor Umahi who was at the scene of the incident helped to direct the search and rescue operations.

A combination of a file photo of Late Ogochukwu Elem and a screenshot from the scene of the incident.

 

Operation Identify

On the way forward to curbing the menace, the governor said he and his Chief of Staff, who doubles as Commissioner for Solid Minerals, will lead the process of identifying all pits dug by miners across the state, with the aim of bringing those who dug them to justice.

“We are going to identify all the pits in Ebonyi State, whether it was dug for lead, for zinc, for chippings and other minerals in Ebonyi State, we have to identify who did it.”

While noting that the battle with miners in the state has been ongoing for a very long time, Governor Umahi said it is unfortunate that the lands the miners destroy cannot be taken back.

He also decried that what is supposed to come to the people do not get to them, a situation he described as “man’s inhumanity to man”.

Governor Umahi assured the residents that all which pertains to mining activities in the state will be thoroughly looked at in the interest of the people.

Police Arrest 18 Suspected Illegal Miners In Zamfara, Recover Exhibits

A file photo of a police officer displaying the crest of the Nigeria Police Force. PHOTO: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels TV

 

The police authorities have arrested 18 suspected illegal miners at the Maru Local Government Area of Zamfara State.

The arrest is a sequel to a presidential order banning illegal mining in the state.

The spokesman of the State Police Command, SP Shehu Muhammad, said the Anti-Illegal Mining Team, led by SP Murtala Bello, had embarked on rigorous raiding and dislodging of illegal miners in various locations across the state.

“The squad was able to within the stated time to date, raid major illegal mining sites at Kwali of Bukkuyum local government area, Daki Takwas under Gummi local government area, Zugu and Wawan Icce mining sites under Anka local government area of Zamfara State among others,” the statement issued by the police command partly read.

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He said the team had actively been on operations since September 2020 when they raided numerous illegal mining sites at different locations in the state and succeeded in the arrest of many notorious illegal miners alongside formidable exhibits.

The police spokesman added, “The recent operations by the anti-illegal mining team was at ‘Yan Kaura mining site in Maru Local Government Area where villagers from different parts of the state converged and embarked on illegal mining activities.

“The assigned squad has mobilized and successfully dislodged the violators and 18 suspects were arrested.”

He warned that those who engage in illegal mining should desist from the acts, adding that troops would not relent to arrest anyone found guilty.

11 Chinese Miners Saved As Rescuers Race To Find Remaining 10

One of twenty-two Chinese miners is saved from hundreds of metres underground where they had been trapped for two weeks after a gold mine explosion in Qixia, in eastern China’s Shandong province on January 24, 2021. (Photo by STR / CNS / AFP) / China OUT

 

Rescuers in east China on Sunday pulled 11 miners from hundreds of metres underground where they had been trapped for two weeks, state media reported, as the race to locate the remaining 10 intensified.

The miners were brought to the surface starting from around 11 am Sunday, state broadcaster CCTV reported — a major breakthrough for a rescue operation that has captivated the nation.

One miner was in “extremely weak physical condition” and rushed to hospital, CCTV said.

The 11 miners were rescued after the air ventilator shaft was cleared, the official state news agency Xinhua reported, citing the operation’s command centre.

A further ten remain unaccounted for.

Specialist teams have been battling difficult conditions since an explosion at the Hushan mine in Shandong province trapped the miners underground amid rising waters on January 10.

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The explosion occurred in a ventilator shaft, causing a blockage that damaged the cable car.

On Sunday morning the huge obstacles suddenly fell to the bottom of the shaft, allowing the operation to take a big step forward, rescue expert Du Bingjian said.

“After the obstacles fell to the bottom of the shaft, the rescue team started to bring up the miners and suspended the drilling work,” Du told the Global Times.

“It is currently unclear when the rescuers will reach the Sixth Central Section where the missing miners are believed to be.”

– Lifeline shafts –

State broadcaster footage on Sunday showed a small elevator carriage lifted to the surface, accompanied by rescue workers. A masked man, who appeared unable to stand, was carried out.

Later footage showed emergency workers lifting out other miners, who wore black shades to protect their eyes from the light. One appeared to be holding his hands as if praying.

Contact was first established a week ago with a group of 11 miners trapped in a section of the mine around 580 metres (1,900 feet) below the surface.

One of them was seriously injured in the initial explosion and died after falling into a coma.

Another miner was found alive by rescuers as they attempted to reach the group.

Rescue teams have been lowering food, medicine and other supplies to the group through several lifeline shafts drilled into the rock.

State media reported Friday that the health of the miners had been gradually returning to a “normal state” after regular deliveries of food.

Life detectors and nutrient solutions have been lowered to other parts of the mine in the hope of reaching those still missing.

In December, 23 workers died after becoming stuck underground in the southwestern city of Chongqing.

18 Chinese Miners Killed In Underground Gas Leak

 

 

Eighteen miners were confirmed dead on Saturday after a carbon monoxide leak at a coal mine in southwestern China, state media reported, with rescue efforts underway to reach five others still trapped underground.

Twenty-four miners were caught up in the accident at the Diaoshuidong mine in the city of Chongqing after the gas leak occurred on Friday, state broadcaster CCTV reported.

As of Saturday morning, one survivor and 18 victims had been found, said CCTV, citing the local emergency rescue command headquarters.

The accident occurred while workers were dismantling underground mining equipment, CCTV reported. The mine had been closed for the previous two months.

Investigators were working to determine the cause of the accident, the official Xinhua news agency said.

An earlier accident at the mine claimed the lives of three people in 2013, according to Xinhua.

Mining accidents are common in China, where the industry has a poor safety record and regulations are often weakly enforced.

Sixteen workers were killed at another mine on the outskirts of Chongqing in September after a conveyor belt caught fire and the resulting blaze produced dangerous levels of carbon monoxide.

-AFP

At Least 40 Miners Trapped In Zimbabwe’s Mine Shaft Collapse

Map of Zimbabwe

 

At least 40 informal miners in Zimbabwe have been trapped underground after a shaft in a disused gold mine collapsed, the country’s miners’ federation said on Thursday.

The incident occurred late Wednesday in the town of Bindura, around 70 kilometres (43 miles) north of the capital Harare, said Wellington Takavarasha, head of the Zimbabwe Miners Federation.

Takavarasha told AFP the miners were working inside the disused Ran Gold Mine when a shaft caved in.

Six miners have since been pulled from the rubble and taken to hospital.

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“Those who were rescued said there were about 40 people in the mine shaft at the time of the incident,” said Takavarasha, adding that rescue efforts were ongoing.

Mining is a major source of foreign currency for Zimbabwe, where gold alone accounts for 60 percent of exports.

The landlocked southern African country is home to vast gold and mineral reserves, including diamonds and platinum.

The gold sector provides jobs to nearly 10 percent of the country’s population, according to the International Crisis Group (ICG).

Small-scale miners often operate illegally to avoid selling their bullion to the state-owned buyer, Fidelity Printers and Refiners, as they are paid only 55 percent in foreign currency.

The remaining 45 percent is paid in Zimbabwean dollars, which is notorious for its weakness.

Accidents are relatively common in decommissioned mines, particularly when the ground is loosened by rain.

AFP

29 Suspected Illegal Miners Arrested In Imo

File Photo of NSCDC Commandant, Danjuma Elisa.

 

The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has arrested 29 suspects allegedly involved in illegal dredging and mining in prohibited sites in Imo State.

This was disclosed on Friday by the State Commandant, Dajuma Elisha in Owerri, the state capital.

While parading the suspects at the Command Headquarters, Elisha said the arrest followed ceaseless complaints and reports by the state government of the activities of illegal miners and dredgers.

He explained that their illegal mining activities have continued to deface the city thereby causing environmental hazards like pollution and land degradation.

According to the NSCDC boss, the suspects will be profiled and prosecuted accordingly.

Elisha also asked indigenes in this line of business to quit and find another legal source of livelihood.

Teenager Killed, Five Injured As Illegal Miners, Farmers Clash In Niger

APC Candidate Wins Niger East Senatorial Seat
A map of Niger State in north-central Nigeria.

 

A teenage boy has been killed and five others injured at an illegal mining site in Papi village, a suburb community located on the outskirts of Minna, the Niger State capital.

Fourteen-year-old Ayuba Abdullahi was shot dead during a clash that broke out between some illegal miners and farmers in the area.

The incident was said to have occurred at about 4:00am on Sunday.

Ayuba’s father, Mallam Abdullahi, who is into petrol business popularly known as the black market, told Channels Television that his son had set out for the mining site at about 1:00am before he met his death.

He lamented that he got a call some hours later from a colleague of his late son that Ayuba had been shot and his lifeless body was brought home at about 8:00am.

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“When I asked what happened, I was told that they (the miners) clashed with some farmers at the site and in the process, Ayuba was shot dead,” Abdullahi narrated.

He added, “We reported the incident to the Maitumbi Divisional Police Station and the body was examined before we buried it around 9:00am. I feel really sad.

“When Ayuba was going out, he asked me to bless him so that he could succeed at his work; I never knew it was the last time I would see my son. He has been in the mining business now for close to three years.”

A file photo of two men working on their farm.

 

Channels Television gathered that the illegal miners and the farmers in Papi have a history of misunderstanding due to alleged encroachment by the miners on farmlands of residents in the village.

Miners numbering over 50 and mostly teenagers with others in their twenties were reported to have stormed the site on Sunday, but they met resistance from some farmers.

In the process, Ayuba was said to have been hit by a gunshot and five others sustained various degrees of injury from gunshots and machete cuts.

When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer in Niger State, Wasiu Abiodun, told Channels Television that they were yet to ascertain the details of the incident.

Illegal mining activities have been on the increase in Niger State, particularly in the suburbs around the state capital.

Most of the miners are expatriates from the Niger Republic and other north-western states across Nigeria.

Three Miners Dead After Tremor In Poland

 

 

Three miners died and six others were hospitalised on Monday after a tremor hit their coal mine in southern Poland, according to the operator PGG.

“We received the sad news that a third miner is also dead. Rescuers are currently working on bringing the bodies to the surface,” PGG spokesman Tomasz Glogowski told the TVN24 commercial news channel.

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The nine men were boring a walkway more than 700 metres (2,296 feet) underground at the Murcki-Staszic mine in the southern city of Katowice when the 2.66-magnitude tremor struck in the early afternoon.

One of the surviving miners is in serious condition, while the other five suffered lighter injuries, according to the PAP news agency.

AFP

At Least 43 Miners Feared Dead In DR Congo Collapse

 

As many as 43 illegal miners may have died when part of a copper mine collapsed in southeastern DR Congo, a Congolese official was quoted as saying Friday.

On Thursday, two galleries caved in at a mine in the Kolwezi area operated by Kamoto Copper Company (KCC), a subsidiary of the Swiss company Glencore.

Glencore had put the number of fatalities at 19 but noted in a statement that there could be “possible further unconfirmed fatalities.”

“The latest report by the Congolese national police indicates 43 deaths,” said Richard Muyej, governor of the Lualaba province according to the news website Actualite.cd.

Muyej was quoted as saying Friday: “After the burials we will hold a big meeting with leaders of the illegal miners to agree once and for all on the rules.”

The region is rich in copper and cobalt.

Glencore had said KCC had observed a “growing presence” of illegal miners, with on average 2,000 people a day intruding on its operating sites.

Illegal mining is common and frequently deadly in Democratic Republic of Congo, where safety is often poor and risk-taking high.

Figures indicating the scale of the problem are sketchy, given that many mines are illegal and work in remote areas.

24 Bodies Retrieved From Flooded Zimbabwe Gold Mine

A miner gets ready to descend into a mining pit during the search and rescue operation at Cricket Mine in Kadoma, Mashonaland West Province where more than 23 artisanal miners are trapped underground and feared dead on February 15, 2019. Jekesai NJIKIZANA / AFP

 

Rescue workers retrieved 24 bodies and eight survivors Saturday from two flooded gold mines in Zimbabwe where officials fear dozens more illegal miners are still trapped, state television reported.

“Eight of the trapped miners have been rescued … while 24 bodies have been retrieved to date as rescue efforts continue at Battlefields Mine,” the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation reported.

The two disused mines are situated near the town of Kadoma, 145 kilometres (90 miles) southwest of the capital Harare.

The rescued received medical attention on site before being taken to the hospital, but were in a stable condition, the report added.

Television footage showed some of the men, in soaked, muddy clothes, being helped to a makeshift clinic.

In a clip posted on Twitter, one survivor told journalists that the waters had risen to neck level, forcing them to stand for days until it receded.

On Friday the government said that between 60 and 70 “artisanal” miners were trapped in two shafts.

It launched an appeal for $200,000 to be used “to pump out water, feeding the bereaved families and the (rescue) teams on the ground, transportation and burial of the victims”, local minister July Moyo said in a statement.

“Given the magnitude of this disaster, we kindly appeal to individuals, development partners and the corporate world for assistance in cash and kind,” he said.

Zimbabwe is in the throes of a deep economic crisis, the worst in a decade.

Annual inflation shot to 56.90 percent up from 42.09 percent in December 2018, according to official statistics released Friday, the highest increase in a decade. Economists say in reality prices have gone up more than three-fold in recent months.

Formal unemployment is estimated at over 90 percent and artisanal gold mining, mostly in mines long abandoned by big corporates, is widespread providing a source of income for many.

Artisanal mining is not banned outright in Zimbabwe, and is largely unregulated.

AFP

Gunmen Kidnap 16 Miners In Kaduna

Kaduna Assembly Declares Ex-Deputy Speaker, Another Lawmaker's Seats Vacant

 

At least 16 local miners have been abducted by gunmen suspected to be kidnappers in Bogoma village of Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

The spokesman of the Kaduna State Police Command, DSP Yakubu Sabo, confirmed the abduction to our correspondent in Kaduna.

Sabo said the 16 miners were abducted on Tuesday night when the truck they were traveling with was intercepted by armed bandits shortly after they left their mining site on their way home.

Describing the incident as unfortunate, he disclosed that the Kaduna Polic Command’s anti-kidnapping squad has launched a manhunt for the kidnappers with a view to arresting them and rescuing the miners.

 

16 Miners Killed In Pakistan Gas Explosion

Pakistani miners shift an injured colleague on a stretcher to carry him to the hospital after the collapse of a coal mine in Quetta on May 5, 2018. BANARAS KHAN / AFP

 

Sixteen miners were killed and nine others were wounded Saturday when a coal mine collapsed due to a gas explosion in southwestern Pakistan, officials said.

The accident occurred in Marwaarh, 45 kilometers (28 miles) east of Quetta, which is the capital of oil and gas-rich Balochistan province bordering Iran and Afghanistan.

“The roof caved in following an explosion triggered by the accumulation of methane gas, killing 16 miners and wounding nine others, two of them seriously”, Jawaid Shahwani, the top government official in Quetta, told AFP.

Shahwani said 25 workers were inside the mine when the explosion occurred, adding that all the injured miners had been rescued and taken to a hospital.

“We are trying our best to recover bodies but it will take time as most of the bodies are buried very deep”, he said.

Pakistani mines are notorious for poor safety standards and bad ventilation.

At least 43 workers were killed in March 2011 when explosions triggered a collapse in a coal mine in Balochistan, which has battled separatist insurgents and Islamist militants for more than a decade.

Balochistan is the largest of Pakistan’s four provinces but its roughly seven million people have long argued they do not get a fair share of its vast gas and mineral wealth.

AFP