Ten people were killed when a makeshift gold mine collapsed in western Burkina Faso, a miners’ association said on Thursday.
“In the early hours of February 8, miners… were trapped” near the town of Hounde, according to Abasse Derra, an official with the local gold miners’ association.
“The death toll so far is 10,” he added giving a provisional toll confirmed by Moussa Ouedraogo, another member of the association.
Collapses are frequent at Burkina Faso’s gold mining sites, where local communities feel they receive little benefit.
Gold has overtaken cotton to become the poor West African country’s main export, with 17 industrial mines producing around 70 tonnes per year.
Informal mining employs around 1.5 million people and generates a further 10 tonnes of gold every year, according to the mining ministry.
In April 2022, Russian gold company Nordgold said it had halted activity at its main private mine in northern Burkina Faso for “security reasons”.
The region has been plagued by a jihadist insurgency led by rebels affiliated with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group, killing thousands and displacing almost two million since 2015.
Deadly jihadist attacks in the impoverished Sahel state often target gold mine workers.