Several Illegal Miners Killed In DR Congo Mine Collapse

 

Several miners were killed on Thursday after part of a copper mine collapsed in southeastern DR Congo, Swiss-based mining giant Glencore said.

The incident happened when two galleries caved in at a mine in the Kolwezi area operated by Kamoto Copper Company (KCC), a subsidiary of Glencore.

“Tragically there were 19 fatalities today, with possible further unconfirmed fatalities,” Glencore said in a statement, which said there had been recurrent problems with illicit mining on its concessions.

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Other reports suggest the death toll could be higher.

The Congolese site Actualite.CD reported at least 36 deaths.

“The illegal artisanal miners were working two galleries in benches overlooking the extraction area. Two of these galleries caved in,” the company said.

Glencore said KCC had observed a “growing presence” of illegal miners, with on average 2,000 people a day intruding on its operating sites.

“KCC urges all illegal miners to cease from putting their lives at risk by trespassing on a major industrial site,” Glencore said.

Illegal mining is common and frequently deadly in Democratic Republic of Congo, where safety is often poor and risk-taking high.

Figures indicating the scale of the problem are sketchy, given that many mines are illegal and remote.

AFP

Nine Killed In Burundi Mine Collapse

 

Nine miners were killed and another 20 injured when an unregulated coltan mine collapsed following torrential rains in northern Burundi, an official and witnesses said Sunday.

The disaster occurred on Friday near the town of Kabarore, the sources said.

Four of the injured are in serious condition, a local official told AFP, requesting anonymity.

They were transported to local hospitals, the official said.

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Residents, civil security officials and the Red Cross were involved in rescue operations until Saturday.

“Torrential rains had hit the region for several days,” a witness told AFP.

Kabarore, in Kayanza province, is some 90 kilometres (55 miles) north of Bujumbura, the capital of the central African country.

Several mines operate in the region, extracting coltan — a key component in cell phones and other electronic equipment — as well as tin oxide and tungsten.

Such incidents occur regularly in Burundi but local authorities are discouraged from reporting them.

AFP

Death Toll From Indonesia Mine Collapse Rises To 16

Indonesian rescue workers removing a body of a miner from a collapsed mine in Bolaang Mongondow, North Sulawesi. Ungke Pepotoh / AFP

 

The death toll from last week’s collapsed gold mine in northern Indonesia has risen to 16, as hopes to find survivors fade, an official said Wednesday.

Eighteen people have been pulled alive but injured from the illegal mine on Sulawesi island, but it is unclear how many were inside when the accident happened last Tuesday.

Painstaking rescue efforts have been hampered by steep terrain, unstable soil and dangerously narrow mining shafts.

National disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said “the evacuation team has been working 24 hours nonstop since Monday”, when the site was deemed safe for search teams.

Two excavators have been clearing debris to find more bodies that could still be trapped inside the mine, he added.

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For the first few days, the team had to dig by hand to reach survivors because of the precarious conditions.

Rescuers also had to temporarily halt the search on Tuesday after rocks started to fall on them.

“At this point, the chances of finding any survivors are very slim,” Abdul Muin Paputungan, from the local disaster mitigation agency, told AFP.

It is unclear how many miners were inside the shafts at the time of the accident as survivors had given varying tallies.

But rescue agencies said some miners reported it could be between 50 and 100.

Paputungan said it was unlikely the team would be able to find all the miners.

The accident happened in the Bolaang Mongondow region of North Sulawesi, where five miners were killed in December after a similar illegal gold mine accident.

Mineral-rich Indonesia has scores of unlicensed mines — many with complete disregard for even the most basic of safety procedures.

In 2016, 11 miners died after a mudslide engulfed an illegal gold mine in Sumatra’s Jambi province.

A year earlier, 12 people were killed when a shaft collapsed after they tunnelled into a disused gold mine on Java island.

AFP

Dozens Buried In Indonesia Gold Mine Collapse

Rescuers carry a survivor from an illegal gold mine collapse in the Bolaang Mongondow region of North Sulawesi.  Handout / BADAN NASIONAL PENANGGULANGAN BENCANA (BNBP) / AFP

 

Indonesian rescuers scrambled Wednesday to find dozens buried in the collapse of an illegal gold mine that killed at least three people, the disaster agency said.

The effort to save survivors at the remote site on Sulawesi island was hampered by steep terrain and unstable soil conditions after the collapse triggered a landslide Tuesday evening, it said.

Three people have been found dead while 14 others were pulled from the rubble alive early on Wednesday, according to officials.

“Dozens of people were mining for gold at this location when suddenly beams and supporting boards broke due to unstable soil conditions,” said disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.

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More than three dozen people may still be trapped at the site in the Bolaang Mongondow region of North Sulawesi, where some five miners were killed in December after an illegal gold mine accident.

The mineral-rich Southeast Asian nation has scores of unlicensed mining sites and safety regulations are routinely flouted.

Some of the still-buried victims were responding to rescuers’ calls but it was not clear how many were still alive.

Ground conditions at the mine were unstable due to a large number of holes dug by the miners, officials said.

“We still have hope. When we called them they still responded from down there, asking for help,” local disaster agency official Abdul Muin Paputungan said.

“We can’t use heavy machinery because the location is very steep… it could endanger the victims,” Paputungan said.

Rescuers were trying to get water to the buried miners but feared a wrong move could make the situation worse.

“There are a lot of challenges because the rocks that fell are in a very dangerous position,” Paputungan said.

“We’re trying to be extra careful.”

Local hospital chief Wahdiana Mantang said nine patients had been released after the accident and several others were being treated for injuries.

“They’re suffering from lacerations, gashes and some have broken bones,” she added.

Environmentalists called on local officials to enforce regulations and safety measures in response to the accident.

“We predicted this was going to happen,” said Theo Runtuwene, a local director for the Indonesian Forum for the Environment.

“The area is mountainous and (miners) dug holes there, which is extremely risky… There are dozens of sites in North Sulawesi where the ground is very unstable, especially during the rainy season,” he added.

In 2016, 11 miners died after a mudslide engulfed an illegal gold mine in Sumatra’s Jambi province.

A year before, 12 people were killed when a shaft collapsed after they tunnelled into a disused gold mine on Java island.

AFP

14 Killed In Rwanda Mine Collapse

 

An accident at an eastern Rwanda mine on Monday killed 14 people, including seven women, a local government official said.

“This is an unfortunate event that nobody expected. The accident happened when falling debris at the mining site buried all the 14 people and killed them instantly,” Jean Claude Rwagasana, the official from the Mwulire region told AFP.

He added that rescuers arrived shortly after the incident but could find no survivors. Seven women were among those killed.

The accident took place at a cassiterite mine, a mineral which, along with coltan, is a vital component for the production of phones, digital cameras and electronic products.

Deadly accidents at Rwanda’s mines are not uncommon, with 27 miners killed in 2017, government statistics show.

Last October, eight people were killed and four wounded in a mine collapse in southern Rwanda’s Muhanga district.

Rwanda’s mining board has blamed the industry for the deaths, saying many mines’ underground tunnels lack support and that firms are slow to implement safety standards.

AFP