Kolwezi is a city in Katanga Province
Katanga Province
Katanga Province is one of the provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Between 1971 and 1997, its official name was Shaba Province. Under the new constitution, the province was to be replaced by four smaller provinces by February 2009; this did not actually take place.Katanga's regional...

 in the south of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Democratic Republic of the Congo
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a state located in Central Africa. It is the second largest country in Africa by area and the eleventh largest in the world...

, west of Likasi
Likasi, formerly known as Jadotville or Jadotstad, is a city in Haut-Katanga Province, in the south-east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.-Demographics:Likasi has a population of around 367,000...

. It is home to an airport
An airport is a location where aircraft such as fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters, and blimps take off and land. Aircraft may be stored or maintained at an airport...

 and a railway to Lubumbashi
Lubumbashi is the second largest city in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, second only to the nation's capital Kinshasa, and the hub of the southeastern part of the country. The copper-mining city serves as the capital of the relatively prosperous Katanga Province, lying near the Zambian border...

. The population is approximately 418,000.

Kolwezi is an important mining
Mining is the extraction of valuable minerals or other geological materials from the earth, from an ore body, vein or seam. The term also includes the removal of soil. Materials recovered by mining include base metals, precious metals, iron, uranium, coal, diamonds, limestone, oil shale, rock...

 centre for copper
Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is soft and malleable; an exposed surface has a reddish-orange tarnish...

 and cobalt
Cobalt is a chemical element with symbol Co and atomic number 27. It is found naturally only in chemically combined form. The free element, produced by reductive smelting, is a hard, lustrous, silver-gray metal....

. There are also uranium
Uranium is a silvery-white metallic chemical element in the actinide series of the periodic table, with atomic number 92. It is assigned the chemical symbol U. A uranium atom has 92 protons and 92 electrons, of which 6 are valence electrons...

, radium
Radium is a chemical element with atomic number 88, represented by the symbol Ra. Radium is an almost pure-white alkaline earth metal, but it readily oxidizes on exposure to air, becoming black in color. All isotopes of radium are highly radioactive, with the most stable isotope being radium-226,...

, oxide
An oxide is a chemical compound that contains at least one oxygen atom in its chemical formula. Metal oxides typically contain an anion of oxygen in the oxidation state of −2....

 ores, and lime
Lime (mineral)
Lime is a general term for calcium-containing inorganic materials, in which carbonates, oxides and hydroxides predominate. Strictly speaking, lime is calcium oxide or calcium hydroxide. It is also the name for a single mineral of the CaO composition, occurring very rarely...

The Musonoi mine
Musonoi Mine
The Musonoi mine is a set of open-cut pits near Kolwezi from which copper and other metals have been extracted since the 1940s. The mining complex is located in the Katanga Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo....

 is a set of open-cut pits near Kolwezi from which copper and other metals have been extracted since the 1940s.


The city was created in 1937 to be the headquarters for the western mining group of the High Katanga Mining Association (UMHK).
On Saturday,13 May 1978, Ex - Katanges Soldiers supported by Angola
Angola, officially the Republic of Angola , is a country in south-central Africa bordered by Namibia on the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the north, and Zambia on the east; its west coast is on the Atlantic Ocean with Luanda as its capital city...

, occupied the city. The government of Zaire
The Republic of Zaire was the name of the present Democratic Republic of the Congo between 27 October 1971 and 17 May 1997. The name of Zaire derives from the , itself an adaptation of the Kongo word nzere or nzadi, or "the river that swallows all rivers".-Self-proclaimed Father of the Nation:In...

 asked Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

, France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

 and the US to restore order. The 2e REP
2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment
The 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment is an Airborne regiment of the French Foreign Legion. It is a part of the 11e Brigade Parachutiste and the spearhead of the French Rapid reaction force.-Indochina:...

, an elite paratrooper
Paratroopers are soldiers trained in parachuting and generally operate as part of an airborne force.Paratroopers are used for tactical advantage as they can be inserted into the battlefield from the air, thereby allowing them to be positioned in areas not accessible by land...

s unit of the French Foreign Legion
French Foreign Legion
The French Foreign Legion is a unique military service wing of the French Army established in 1831. The foreign legion was exclusively created for foreign nationals willing to serve in the French Armed Forces...

, were sent in to drive out the rebels and rescue any hostages. The Belgian army
Belgian Army
The Land Component is organised using the concept of capacities, whereby units are gathered together according to their function and material. Within this framework, there are five capacities: the command capacity, the combat capacity, the support capacity, the services capacity and the training...

 also deployed a force of some 750 Paracommando Regiment paratroopers and moved out just over 1,800 Europeans to other cities in the region. 700 Africans, including 250 rebels, 170 European hostages and 6 paratroopers died.

Near Kolwezi there is the static inverter plant
Static inverter plant
A static inverter station, also known as an HVDC Converter Station, is the terminal equipment for a high-voltage direct-current transmission line, in which direct current is converted to three-phase alternating current, and, usually, the reverse...

 of the HVDC Inga-Shaba
The Inga–Shaba EHVDC Intertie is a high-voltage direct current overhead electric power transmission line in the Democratic Republic of Congo, linking the Inga hydroelectric complex at the mouth of the Congo River to mineral fields in Shaba...



The Kolwezi Airport
Kolwezi Airport
Kolwezi Airport is an airport serving Kolwezi, the capital city of the Lualaba District in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The airport is located about south of Kolwezi.-Facilities:...

serves Kolwezi and the surrounding area. The airport is located about 6 km (4 mi) south of Kolwezi.

External links

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