More than 70 are dead after an informal gold mine collapsed in Mali, an official says-UPDATED

More than 70 are dead after an informal gold mine collapsed in Mali, an official says-UPDATED
# 25 January 2024 11:36 (UTC +04:00)

An unregulated gold mine collapsed late last week in Mali, killing more than 70 people, an official said Wednesday, and a search continued amid fears that the toll could rise, APA reports citing ABC News.

Karim Berthé, a senior official at the government's National Geology and Mining Directorate, confirmed the details to The Associated Press and called it an accident.

There were around 100 people in the mine at the time of the collapse, according to Abdoulaye Pona, president of the Mali Chamber of Mines, who was at the scene.

The cause of the collapse, which happened in Kangaba district in the southwestern Koulikoro region on Friday, was under investigation. It was first reported on Tuesday in a Ministry of Mines statement that estimated “several” miners dead.

Such tragedies are common in Mali, Africa’s No. 3 gold producer. Artisanal miners — small-scale, informal ones — are often accused of ignoring safety measures, especially in remote areas.

“The state must bring order to this artisanal mining sector to avoid these kinds of accidents in the future,” Berthé said.

The Ministry of Mines statement “deeply regretted” the collapse, and urged miners and communities living near mining sites to “comply with safety requirements."

In recent years, there have been concerns that profits from unregulated mining in northern Mali could benefit extremists active in that part of the country.

The region of this latest collapse, however, is far to the south of that and closer to the capital, Bamako.

*** 01-24-2024 / 20:01

More than 40 artisanal gold miners were killed in southwest Mali last week after the shaft they were working in collapsed, Mali's mines ministry said on Wednesday, APA reports citing Reuters.

Artisanal mining is a common activity across much of West Africa and has risen in recent years due to growing demand for metals and rising prices.

Deadly accidents are frequent as artisanal miners often use old-fashioned and unregulated methods of digging.

The incident in Mali occurred on Friday on a site in the Kangaba Cercle in the south-western Koulikoro Region, the mines ministry said in a statement on Tuesday that did not specify the number of deaths.

A spokesperson for the ministry, Baye Coulibaly, said via telephone on Wednesday that the death toll was still provisional.

"Gold panners have dug galleries without complying with the required standards, and we have advised them against it on several occasions in vain," Coulibaly said.

The ministry would be a sending a mission to the Kangaba area on Thursday to get more details on the accident, he added.

According to mines ministry data, an estimated six tonnes of gold was produced in artisanal mines in Mali in 2023.

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