KINSHASA, Congo – A landslide at a huge open pit copper mine in southeastern Congo killed at least two people and left five people missing Tuesday, a local official said.
Five of the seven people were employees of the Kamoto Copper Company, a subsidiary of the Swiss mining company Glencore, while two were guards, said Richard Muyej, special commissioner of Lualaba province.
In an earlier statement, Glencore said Katanga Mining Ltd., which operates the mining complex, reported that a “geotechnical failure” — or a landslide — had occurred on the north wall of the KOV open pit mine. A Glencore statement said search and rescue operations were underway for the seven people who were believed to have been working on the dewatering of the pit.
Katanga Mining said on its website that mining operations were suspended after the incident Tuesday morning. It said an assessment of the damage was also underway.
Katanga, about three-quarters owned by Glencore, says the KOV mine is “the largest high-grade copper resource in the world.”
Associated Press writer Jamey Keaten contributed to this report from Geneva.