Glencore says all seven workers dead after Katanga mine accident in Congo

Photo shows view of one of the open pit copper mines at Katanga. (Image courtesy of Katanga Mining)

The seven miners that went missing last week after a “geotechnical failure” led to landslide at Glencore’s (LON:GLEN) Katanga Mining operation in the Democratic Republic of Congo are now considered dead.

The company, which has so far recovered three bodies from the site, said Thursday it has officially ended the search for the other four following a 10-day effort.

Operations were halted last year, but work on maintenance and an $880 million modernization project to cut costs at the site was ongoing.

“It is with deep regret that the company must now assume that any individual who was in KOV open pit at the time of the incident will not have survived,” Glencore said in the statement.

The mine was shut down in September for 18 months so that the company could build a new processing plant while metal prices were low.

The dead miners were carrying out maintenance at the bottom of the 250-metre pit at the time of the accident.

When Glencore suspended operations last year, it vowed to continue with the planned investment of $880 million into on-going processing plant upgrades and the waste stripping of the KOV and Mashamba open pits.

These upgrades include the commissioning of the new leach plant, which will replace the existing oxide concentration process.