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Chinese mining companies flee, leaving workers in the lurch

Article published on the 2009-02-24 Latest update 2009-02-24 18:19 TU

Downtown Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo(Credit: Wikimedia)

Downtown Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo
(Credit: Wikimedia)

In Katanga province, the copper-rich belt in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, more than 40 Chinese-run mines have been abandoned due to lowering global demand for copper. The city of Lubumbashi, as well as miners and their families, have suffered in their absence, according to the Congolese human rights group ACIDH.

"During the economic crisis in November, many Chinese mining companies in Katanga Province have left the region," Emmanuel Ompuna, the Executive Director of ACIDH, told RFI.

"When they left there were many problems," he added, "notably that the workers didn't have the right to be paid."

The workers were poorly paid and had no rights because they were day labourers and did not hold regular contracts with the Chinese.

"The workers' conditions in the Chinese mining companies were very bad," said Ompuna, referring to the fact that those who were employed by the Chinese companies were not given adequate protective gear and tools.  "They didn't have the means to protect themselves."

Interview: Emmanuel Ompuna, Executive Director ACIDH Ngo in Lubumbashi

24/02/2009 by Laura Angela Bagnetto