more than 70 dead in gold mine collapse

Gold panning sites are regularly the scene of deadly landslides, the activity being dangerous and the authorities struggling to control artisanal mining of the metal.



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Tunnels used by miners in Mali, in Koflatie, October 28, 2014. (SEBASTIEN RIEUSSEC / AFP)

More than 70 people were killed in the collapse of a gallery on a gold panning site in the south-west of Mali on Friday January 19, a tragedy of rare magnitude in a Sahelian region regularly prone to accidents in the mines. “It started with a noise. The earth started to shake. There were more than 200 gold prospectors on the ground. The search is over now. We have found 73 bodies”, Oumar Sidibé, a leader of the Kangaba gold miners, told AFP. The number of victims was confirmed by a local elected official.

In a press release published Tuesday January 23, the Ministry of Mines mentioned the death of several gold miners, without giving a precise figure. The government presented “his deepest condolences to the grieving families and the Malian people.”

He invited “communities living near mining sites and gold miners must scrupulously respect safety requirements and work only in areas dedicated to gold panning.” Mali, among the poorest countries in the world, is one of the leading producers of gold in Africa.

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