Illegal miners burn trucks and loot offices

Illegal miners in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) burned trucks and stole copper from the Tenke Fungurume copper mine, according to reports.

"It was a massive riot, and there is now a big backlog of trucks carrying minerals from all the mines nearby since that road is the artery for all of them on the route out (to Zambia)," a security analyst told Reuters.

The $2bn copper and cobalt mine is operated by Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc, which said that the incident had not disrupted production.

"Yesterday, a group of illegal miners committed acts of aggression against the TFM/Fungurume community," the spokesman told Reuters. "No TFM employees were hurt, but several policemen received minor injuries."

Illegal mining is rife in the mineral rich DRC. According to NGO observers the individuals were expecting work but violence broke out when they were turned away.

"On Monday illegal miners squatting on Tenke Fungurume blocked the route, vandalized their offices, stole their computers and burned three trucks, looting the copper cathodes in one of them," provincial Interior Minister Jean-Marie Dikanga told Reuters.

StrategicRISK investigated the plight of illegal miners in the DRC. Read more: Born free and equal