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Zambian mine reinstates suspended workers

Chambishi copper
Lusaka, Zambia — MININGREVIEW.COM — 15 February 2010 – Chinese-owned NFC Africa Mining has reinstated 79 miners who were suspended for suspected sabotage at its Chambishi copper mine, a Zambian newspaper reports.

More than 17 miners were admitted to hospital last week in Kitwe, 330 km north of Lusaka, for treatment of smoke inhalation after an electric cable had caught fire underground. Chambishi officials said they suspected sabotage.

National Union of Mine and Allied Workers (NUMAW) general secretary Goodwell Kaluba told the Sunday Times of Zambia newspaper that eight workers were still suspended. NFC Africa had reinstated the other 79 after they had been screened, Kaluba added.

Mines minister Maxwell Mwale told Reuters the company had informed the government about suspected acts of sabotage.

Workers have previously rioted over poor pay at Chambishi and industry officials say that, despite improved wages and conditions, employees remained unhappy with salaries averaging US$400 (R3 000) per month.