Switzerland-based multinational Glencore has confirmed the deaths of at least two people, while five more remain missing, at its KOV open pit copper mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Tuesday.
The miner said a geotechnical failure on the north wall of the open pit mine, which is part of Glencore’s Katanga operation, had left seven people missing.
Two bodies were recovered at the time of the company’s latest release overnight, while the other five people remained unaccounted for.
Glencore said the workers were working on the ongoing dewatering of the pit in the vicinity of the failure.
In addition to the human casualties, Glencore confirmed that “an unknown amount of damage” had been sustained by the dewatering infrastructure in the pit.
“Katanga has mobilised its search and rescue team and the process of locating the unaccounted for personnel is in progress, as well as an assessment of the damage and recoverability of the affected infrastructure,” the company said upon first announcing the incident.
Later on Tuesday, the miner confirmed the deaths of at least two workers, doing so “with deepest regret”.
“The search for the remaining five individuals continues with all available resources allocated to the search and rescue operations,” the company added.
“Katanga has set up two emergency rooms to support the search and rescue operations. A separate support and counselling centre for the families of the affected individuals has been placed in Kolwezi town, which is located close to the operations.”
Glencore said the Katanga operation was working with relevant authorities in relation to the matter.