NFC Africa Mining said it has reinstated its 79 suspended miners suspected of alleged sabotage that caused an underground fire at the Chambishi copper mine.

An electric cable caught fire underground at Chambishi, causing a fire that left 17 miners hospitalised and treated for smoke inhalation.

The National Union of Mine and Allied Workers general secretary Goodwell Kaluba said eight workers are still being held on suspicion while two miners were already in police custody for investigation.

Minister of Mining Maxwell Mwale said the government had been informed by the company about the suspected sabotage act.

NFC Africa Mining earlier protested over poor salaries averaging $400 a month at Chambishi.