70 artisanal miners buried alive as gold mine collapses


More than 70 people have died in southwest Mali after an artisanal gold mine collapsed last week, officials have said, the latest disaster in a region prone to mining accidents.

Karim Bethe, a senior National Geology and Mining Directorate official, revealed detail of the accident on Wednesday.

Oumar Sidibe, an official for gold miners in the southwestern town of Kangaba, as well as a local councillor, confirmed the death toll to the AFP news agency.

“It started with a noise. The earth started to shake,” Sidibe said. “There were over 200 gold miners in the field.”

While it was not clear what caused the mine collapse that occurred on Friday, the Ministry of Mines said in a statement on Tuesday that it estimated “several” miners had been killed in the Kangaba district in southwestern Koulikoro region.

The ministry said it “deeply regretted” the collapse and urged miners and communities in the area to “comply with safety requirements”.

A spokesperson for the ministry, Baye Coulibaly, also told the Reuters news agency on Wednesday that the gold panners dug galleries “without complying with the required standards”.

“We have advised them against it on several occasions in vain,” Coulibaly said.

Mali’s government offered its “deepest condolences to the grieving families and to the Malian people”.

It also called on “communities living near mining sites and gold miners to scrupulously respect safety requirements and to work only within the perimeters dedicated to gold panning”. Al Jazeera.

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