By MUBANGA NONDO
A SUSPECTED copper thief, commonly known as jerabo, is battling for his life at Roan General Hospital after he was trapped on a conveyor belt while being pursued by mine police at China Non-Ferrous Metal Mining Corporation Luanshya Copper Mines (CLM).
CLM head of public relations and local business development Sydney Chileya said in a statement issued in Ndola yesterday that the incident happened near the concentrator.
â€œThe man, identified as Aaron Phiri, aged between 23 and 25 years, was in the company of other illegal miners, popularly known as jerabos, who have been stealing installations in the mine area,â€ Mr Chileya said.
He said the incident happened on Tuesday around 17:00 hours at Baluba plant.
Mr Chileya said Phiri and his accomplices were allegedly trying to cut a hoist cable when security officers spotted and pursued them.
â€œUpon realising that security were catching up on them, Phiri allegedly attempted to jump over the 14 kilometre cable belt which conveys copper ore from Baluba Mine to treatment plant,â€ Mr Chileya said.
He said Phiri got trapped between the pulleys of the belt for about 10 minutes and was only rescued by security officers who arrived at the scene.
Mr Chileya said Phiri suffered lacerations to the head and limbs and he is admitted to Roan General Hospital and his condition is critical.
Mr Chileya said Phiriâ€™s accomplices ran away but a combined team of State and mine police officers are looking for them.
He warned illegal miners to stay away from the mining area because CLM has put in place protective measures to curb illegal mining activities.
â€œLuanshya Copper Mines wishes to warn illegal miners in Luanshya that security surveillance around the plant area and within the mine in general has been enhanced and all those arrested will be handed over to State police and they shall be prosecuted,â€ Mr Chileya said.
In July, jerabos attacked and beat up Staff Sergeant Frank Mutale near the area where Phiri was trapped, inflicting head injuries on him.
Mr Mutale is still admitted to Luanshya Mine Hospital.
By MUBANGA NONDO