At least 10 illegal miners, commonly known as Jerabos, have been confirmed dead while seven are seriously injured after the infamous Black Mountain collapsed on them at 09:50 hours this morning.

Kitwe Central Hospital public relations manager Phoebe Chileya has confirmed the development to News Diggers!

“Yes, so far we have received 10 bodies which came in as BID. And we have six which are in theater one in a critical condition. Two may need to have their legs amputated after an accessment by our surgeons. From what we are told, we are likely to receive more dead bodies or others injured,” Chileya said.

And the jerabos have blocked all access roads to the Black Mountain.

Meanwhile, briefing the media at Kitwe Central Hospital, Katanga explained that the accident was caused by an excavator that was operating on top of the slug dump.

Katanga said the rescue mission was still going on.

Kitwe Central Hospital acting senior superintendent Chileshe Mboni said one of the seven that were rushed to hospital had critical head injuries and was in ICU.

In a statement, Patriotic Front Secretary General Davies Mwila conveyed his condolences to the families of the deceased.

“The Patriotic Front wishes to send a message of condolences to the families of the victims following the tragic loss of miners’ lives in an accident at the Black Mountain site this morning. It is with profound grief that we, in the ruling Patriotic Front received the news of the tragic accident which resulted in the loss of several lives and we are fearing for the lives of those that could have been seriously injured following the accident. On behalf of the Patriotic Front, I wish to convey my most heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims, friends and Copperbelt Province at large,” Mwila said.

Mwila called for safer mining practices, saying it would be prudent for Jerabos to partner with large mining firms.

“As the nation would be aware, the Patriotic Front manifesto 2016-2021 centres on empowering citizens and encourages direct access to mineral resources and wealth creation while insisting on use of safer mining practices. Patriotic Front’s greatest desire is for the small-Scale miners, majority of whom are youth, could partner with large mining technology management firms to enable them extract the minerals in more safer and efficient environments,” said Mwila.

“In the moments of such agonizing pain, it is difficult to give comfort to the families and friends that have lost their loved ones. There may be those who might have died in the attempt to possibly save their co-workers and friends will be remembered as brave men who carried out their duty honourably and conscientiously. In the difficult moments, our thoughts go to the bereaved families and friends.”