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February 14, 2020

Tunnel collapses at Mozambique ruby mine kill 11 illegal miners

At least 11 illegal miners in northern Mozambique’s Montepuez ruby mine have died following a series of tunnel collapses over three days.

At least 11 illegal miners in northern Mozambique’s Montepuez ruby mine have died following a series of tunnel collapses over three days.

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The mine is 75% owned by the UK-based natural resources firm Gemfields.

According to Gemfields, approximately 800 artisanal miners entered Montepuez Ruby Mining (MRM)’s Maninge Nice 3 mining pit.

Despite repeated warnings from MRM staff, these illegal miners were seeking ruby-bearing gems and began undercutting the outer edge of the mining pit. This led to several ground collapse incidents, killing 11 artisanal miners over three days.

MRM personnel provided humanitarian aid where required, stated Gemfields.

BBC cited Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy general inspector Obete Matine as saying that the walls of one tunnel had first collapsed at the Montepuez site, killing one man.

The other miners continued digging despite the tunnel collapse, resulting in the death of two more miners following a second collapse.

There were eight additional deaths as illegal mining operations were not suspended.

Matine added that most of the victims were young people appointed by smugglers to extract precious stones from the mineral-rich region.

Gemfields’ involvement in the 2009-discovered Montepuez deposits started in June 2011, as part of a deal between Gemfields and original titleholder Mwiriti, under which Gemfields acquired 75% of the mine.

In June 2019, an accident at a copper and cobalt mine owned by British-Swiss mining firm Glencore in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) killed 43 illegal miners.

In March 2018, Mustang Resources secured a mining concession for the Montepuez ruby project.

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Dig deeper with our mining equipment forecasts

As ore mines ramp up and come on stream, the total number of active surface machines (including trucks, excavators, shovels, loaders, graders and dozers) is forecast to rise from 141,470 in 2020 to 167,367 by 2025. This will be a CAGR of 3.4% from 2020 to 2025. The largest contributor to this growth is expected to be trucks, particularly smaller-sized trucks with shorter lifespans, used extensively in parts of Asia Pacific. Underground mining equipment is similarly expected to see a CAGR of 2.3% in this same time frame, with the number of mining trucks and loaders/LHDs in active underground mines expected to rise to 19,853 by 2025. GlobalData’s extensive mine-site research and equipment models have been used to build a complete view of mobile mining equipment populations globally for trucks, loaders, graders, dozers, excavators and shovels. This report includes informative breakdowns by each major region and key mining country, and also by major commodity. Read GlobalData’s Global Surface and Underground Mining Equipment: Populations & Forecast to 2025 for a complete view of the market, allowing you to best position yourself for the future.
by GlobalData
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