6 Aug 2012

Chinese manager killed in Zambian mine riot

10:45 am on 6 August 2012

Zambian miners have killed a Chinese manager by pushing a mine trolley at him during a riot at a coalmine in the south of the country.

A second Chinese was injured, as were several Zambians, during the riot on Saturday.

The workers were on strike at the mine in protest against delays in implementing a new minimum wage. They were angry their wages were lower than a new minimum of $270 a month paid to shop workers.

Zambia's minister of labour has gone to the Chinese-owned Collum coal mine in Sinazongwe, 325 kilometres south of the capital, Lusaka.

Southern province police commissioner Fred Mutondo says Wu Shengzai, 50, was killed as he tried to run away from the the rioting miners.

Last year, the Zambian government dropped charges against two Chinese managers accused of attempted murder after they fired on miners at the Collum mine during a pay dispute.

Chinese firms own several mines in southern African countries, including coal and copper operations.

Copper mining is one of Zambia's main industries, providing nearly threequarters of the country's exports; many of the mining companies are foreign-owned, and China has invested nearly $500 million in Zambia.

A 2011 report by Human Rights Watch said that, despite improvements in recent years, safety and labour conditions at Chinese mines were worse than at other foreign-owned mines.