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Flooding the mines

Lao miners are facing layoffs after an influx of Chinese laborers at a potash mine in the central province of Khammouane. They complain that the ratio of 3,000 miners from China to only 100 Lao workers breaks an agreement that mine operators must hire more domestic workers than Chinese. The state-run Chinese mining outfit exports most of the key fertilizer ingredient back to China, which looms large over the economy of its small neighbor. Chinese mine operators say they import their own workers because Lao workers lack skills.