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Eleven mine protestors shot

Lusaka, Zambia — MININGREVIEW.COM — 18 October 2010 – Police have questioned two Chinese managers over the shooting and wounding of 11 miners protesting over pay and conditions at the Collum coal mine in Zambia.

Confirming this in an interview, Sinazongwe district commissioner Oliver Pelete told Reuters that police had recorded statements in connection with the shooting from the two managers at the Chinese-owned mine, about 325 km south of the capital.

“The police have opened a case record and are now awaiting the advice of the director of public prosecutions on whether to proceed with the case,” Pelete said.

Police said they were investigating whether people associated with the Chinese owners might have opened fire on the protesting miners when they confronted management. Pelete said two of the miners with serious bullet wounds had been transferred to a bigger hospital in Lusaka for surgery. The other nine were out of danger.

“The situation at the mine is calm and production should resume today, after management agreed to address the concerns of the miners,” Pelete said.

A Chinese embassy spokesman told Reuters that there had been tension between the Chinese owners of the mine and local employees leading to the shooting incident, but refused to comment further.

Collum Mine Limited supplies coal to mines in the mineral-rich Copperbelt, and to Zambia’s largest cement producer, a unit of France’s Lafarge.