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Congo mine collapse kills at least 9

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  • Rob McGee
    Congo mine collapse kills at least 9 12 Jul 2004 17:52:27 GMT KINSHASA, July 12 (Reuters) - A Congolese mine that provided uranium for the first atomic bombs
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 12, 2004
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      Congo mine collapse kills at least 9
      12 Jul 2004 17:52:27 GMT
      KINSHASA, July 12 (Reuters) - A Congolese mine that provided uranium for the first atomic bombs has collapsed, killing at least nine miners, officials and rescue workers said on Monday.

      The Shinkolobwe mine was abandoned after the end of World War Two by the Belgians, then colonial masters of the Congo, but thousands of illegal miners still descend makeshift shafts in search of valuable copper and cobalt compounds.

      "These people were ... miners who were digging when the collapse happened," said Petwe Kapande, mayor of the nearby town of Likasi in the southeast part of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

      Nine bodies had been recovered and nine people had been pulled out alive since the partial collapse on Friday, a miner helping with the rescue effort said.

      "There are at least 30 people still underground and I don't think there is any hope for them," he told Reuters by telephone.

      "We are still pulling bodies out. It is only through the will of God that the three people we rescued today are alive."

      Shinkolobwe, one of Congo's largest and oldest mines, provided the uranium for the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the United States in 1945.

      Its main mineshaft was filled with concrete after World War Two when the United States lobbied to have a potential security threat removed.

      The miners who quarry the site dig up compounds which are in high demand on the world market and sell them to Indian, Pakistani, Chinese and South Korean smelter operators, local residents said.
      ___________________________________________________________
      United States Mine Rescue Association
      www.usmra.com
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