GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo (Reuters) – At least 50 people are believed to have died on Friday afternoon when an artisanal gold mine collapsed near Kamituga in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, a local mining NGO said.
The collapse occurred at the “Detroit” mining site around 3:00 pm. local (1300 GMT) following heavy rains, said Emiliane Itongwa, president of the Women’s Social Support and Supervision Initiative.
“Several miners were in the pit which was covered and no one could get out. We are talking about 50 young people, “Itongwa said.
Photos and videos on social media showed hundreds of people, some of whom could be heard moaning on a hill around the entrance to the mine shaft.
The mine was not located in the Kamituga gold concession owned by Canadian miner Banro Corporation, the company’s chief executive said.
Mining accidents are common in unregulated artisanal mines in Congo, with dozens of deaths each year in mines where often ill-equipped diggers borrow deep underground in search of ore.
A landslide in a disused gold mine killed 16 people in October last year, while 43 illegal miners died in another landslide in a copper and cobalt mine in June 2019.