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One dead in Chinese coal mine disputes in Zambia

Updated: 2012-08-06 09:04
( Xinhua)

LUSAKA - One Chinese was killed and two others were injured on Saturday in labor clashes at a coal mine in Zambia's Southern Province, the Chinese Embassy here confirmed late on Sunday.

The clashes took place after a labor dispute at the Chinese-owned Collum Coal Mining Industries Ltd. in Sinazongwe district of the province.

The two wounded Chinese miners suffered minor injury from the incident, the Embassy said.

No casualties among locals have been reported so far, and the coal mine has restored peace.

A local radio station reported that the clashes were triggered by local miners after the mine's management allegedly delayed to put a new salary increase into effect.

The Chinese Embassy has been in touch with relevant departments of the Zambian government and the police and has sent a team to the scene to investigate into the incident.

Home Affairs Minister Edgar Lungu told the press on Sunday that those responsible for the death would be prosecuted.

Zambia's government recently issued a statutory instrument for a significant increase of minimum wage from 500,000 Zambian Kwacha (about $100) to 1 million Zambian Kwacha (about 201 dollars) for casual workers and others.

Collum Coal Mine, a private firm run by Chinese investors from Jiangxi province, has an annual production capacity of 100,000 tons of coal.

In October 2010, another clash occurred at the same mine, in which a dozen of local workers were injured.

China and Zambia established diplomatic ties 48 years ago and the two countries have enjoyed close economic and trade relations ever since.

Chinese investment in Zambia has brought great benefit to both countries. China is the fourth largest trade partner of Zambia with a bilateral trade volume amounting to 2.85 billion dollars in 2010.

According to figures released by the Chinese Embassy, by the end of 2010, Chinese firms have invested a total of 2 billion dollars in Zambia and set up nearly 300 enterprises covering areas including coal mining, agriculture, textile and construction.

The expansion of Chinese investment boosted the development of the country's infrastructure and created more jobs for locals.

The TAZARA railway, built by China about 40 years ago with the Tanzanian and Zambian governments, has been a symbol of China-Zambia friendship and brought lots of opportunities to the countries with convenient transport.

The Zambia-China economic and trade cooperation zone established in 2006 has realized 700 million dollars of investment and created nearly 6,000 jobs.

Zambian President Michael Sata has on many occasions voiced the country's willingness to keep good relations with China and welcomed Chinese firms to invest in Zambia and help the country's economic and social development.

Chinese President Hu Jintao said last month that China will expand cooperation in investment and financing to support sustainable development in Africa and continue to increase assistance to Africa to bring the benefits of development to the African people.

He made the remarks at the recent Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation held in Beijing, where about 50 African countries pledged to develop a new strategic partnership with China.

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