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Zambia Government Cancels License for Chinese-Owned Mine

Zambia revoked the mining license for the Collum coal operation, where workers rioted in November and killed a Chinese manager.

The mine, owned by a family of Chinese citizens, failed to comply with at least 15 legal provisions including not having the required blasting licenses, Mines Minister Yamfwa Mukanga said by mobile phone today. There were also instances where mine management didn’t supply workers with proper safety equipment, he said.

“Our plans are to find a new partner,” Mukanga said. “Government is not interested in nationalization.”

The manager was killed during an Aug. 4 miners’ riot at Collum, located in Sinazongwe district, about 220 kilometers (138 miles) southwest of Lusaka, the capital. Zambian police arrested two Chinese managers at the same mine in October 2010 after they opened fire on a group of protesting workers, wounding 11.

The government sent a default notice to the mine in August, Mukanga said.

“They never even responded, they didn’t care,” he said.

The government must find a new investor that will comply with Zambian laws, Mineworkers Union of Zambia General Secretary Joseph Chewe said by mobile phone.

“The lack of compliance and the way they have structured their administration is a concern,” he said. “They need to be more organized so it is like a mining company, not like a farm.”

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