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Last Updated: Friday, 7 March 2008, 11:12 GMT
Police clash with DR Congo miners
DR Congo miners
Many Congolese work as illegal miners in disused quarries
Hundreds of miners have clashed with police in the Democratic Republic of Congo's mineral-rich Katanga province.

At least one miner was reportedly shot dead and 30 others injured as police tried to evict them from an old quarry.

The miners were digging for copper and cobalt ore in a quarry belonging to the state mining company, Gecamines.

Thousands of casual miners are afraid of losing their livelihoods as the government seeks to sell mining concessions to foreign investors.

Police started evicting the miners from the quarry in Kamatanda - near the country's border with Zambia - on Thursday.

The move angered the miners, who said the governor of the province had promised them that they would not be asked to leave the disused quarry.

Gecamines went bankrupt in 1990, and its mines have since been invaded by thousands of self-employed diggers and artisanal miners.

DR Congo has vast mineral reserves, including gold, diamonds, 10% of the world's copper and more than a third of cobalt, used in mobile phones.

Since DR Congo's independence in 1960, its vast mineral wealth has been a key factor in the country's civil wars and instability.

Last year, the government appointed a commission to review at least 60 mining contracts signed in the last decade.



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