Disasters While Digging: Rates of Violence Against Mine Workers in Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa, and Zambia

Image; Flickr, Slices of Light
Image; Flickr, Slices of Light

In 2010, Southern Zambia’s Collum Coal Mine made international headlines for all the wrong reasons. Disgruntled about a pay increase they say never materialized, a group of miners took their complaints to management.

Tensions escalated, exacerbated by language barriers, and the situation culminated with managers firing into the crowd of workers, injuring thirteen. The case cast a spotlight on the Zambian mining industry—outlets that didn’t often report on the sector, from CNN to New Yorker magazine covered the incident. The most interesting element was the fact that the event seemed to catalyze a broader framing of Chinese companies as exceedingly hostile towards local workers. This framing occurred despite the fact that the owner of the mine was a naturalized Australian citizen and the company in question was registered in Zambia, with no parent company in China.

1 Jan 2019