Sixty feared dead in Congo gold mine collapse

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Remote area unreachable owing to presence of armed militia.

By Craig Heatly

At least 60 miners have been killed in a gold mine in a remote part of north-eastern Democratic Republic of Congo after a shaft collapsed as a result of illegal miners rushing the mine.

It has been reported that the miners were at least 100 meters underground when the shaft collapsed on Monday in Pangoyi, 75 miles from Mambasa in the north east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

It is reported that illegal miners rushed to be first into the bottom of the pit but ended up causing the sides to collapse, burying them all. 

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Simon Pierre Bolombo, the provincial head of mines in the DR Congo, told Reuters that the collapse had been caused by a landslide.

"It was deep in the forest, there was a landslide, at least 60 people have been killed.

"(The mine) is controlled by the rebels. There’s almost total insecurity, it’s difficult for us (to reach)," he added.

Accidents in illegal mines are commonplace due to limited or a complete lack of safety regulations and many of the miners are inexperienced and turn to mining as a result of poverty and out of desperation.

There are concerns that the workers are forced into the mines by armed groups and government soldiers to fund their activities. This particular mine was reported to be abandoned as a result of conflict between the Cognolese army and armed militia.

Rescue attempts have failed due to the location of the mine in the middle of the jungle where the armed militia operate from.

 

 

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