Nsama Musanda Kearns, Kitwe/28/05/10
Barely 3 months after the government of Zambia granted the Copperbelt small scale miners popularly known as Jerabos permission to mine at the Nkana slag dump also known as Black Mountain, several houses in a nearby mine area called Nkana West have been destroyed.The houses were destroyed by the rocks that came from the blast which occurred due to explosives that were used to blast a wall which was blocking an area that was intended for mining. The Jerabos had hired a blasting company to do the work. Efforts to get pictures failed as most houses are in wall fences and people are skeptical of letting strangers take pictures
The story of the Black Mountain began as way back as 2011 when ZCCM Investment holdings began talks with Chambeshi Metals and Tianjin Maolin on the transfer of the slag materials to its subsidiary Nkana Alloy the company which was created to exploit the Nkana slag dump materials. However following rumours of the rich contents of copper, gold and other precious minerals being found in the slag materials, a gang of notorious youths going by the fearsome gangster name Jerabos from the neighbouring highly populated Wusakile township which is affected by poverty and unemployment invaded the black mountain and began conducting illegal mining. In 2016 towards the general elections, the pf government promised to give Jerabos shares in the slag damp however after the elections, there were number of court cases involving the black mountain between the Jerabos and mining companies that had legal rights. In 2017, the Kitwe high court granted the Jerabos permission to mine on the damp while they awaited for final court rulings. On February 19th 2018, the president met the s kingpin popularly known as Shimumbi and his counterpart Chile 1 at state house and promised them to resolve the black mountain once and for all. In keeping his promise the president ordered for immediate discontinuation of the case in court and on 27th February the mines and minerals minister in the company of the home affairs minister travelled to Kitwe to break the good news to the Jerabos that they were officially granted shares of up to 20% in the black mountain. This news led to jubilation and freshly pledged allegiance to the ruling party.
Despite the numerous health and environmental hazards that the dump come with, the area is now under the mercy of a fearsome gang that has power enough to even manipulate a large governing system.
Accidents like this often happen at the black mountain