About 50 Feared Dead In DR Congo Mine Collapse


About 50 people are feared dead after a gold mine collapsed in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo following torrential rain, local authorities said Saturday.

The accident in the makeshift mine occurred on Friday in the town of Kamituga, in South Kivu province.

Provincial governor Theo Ngwabidje Kasi deplored “the tragic deaths of 50 people, most of them young”.

However, Kamituga mayor Alexandre Bundya said “we are not yet sure of the exact number” of victims.

A local resident who was at the scene, Jean Nondo, told AFP that “according to witnesses, there are more than 50 dead. There is only one survivor.”

He said a river close to the mine had flooded after torrential rain.

“Water went into the three tunnels. When people tried to get out, there was no way as the water was flowing strongly, with high pressure,” he said.

Bundya blamed “soil subsidence caused by torrential rain” for the accident.

The mayor decreed a two-day mourning period and called on local residents to help extract the bodies from the ground.

Accidents in DR Congo’s makeshift mines are a common occurrence, and are often deadly.

Many such mines are in remote areas, meaning the accidents are under-reported.

The miners sell what they find to local traders, who sell it on to large foreign companies.

“Investigations must be carried out to find out the causes of this disaster,” said a representative of the civil society, Nicolas Kyalangalilwa.

“The authorities must take responsibility instead of taxing” these miners.



Two Dead, 20 Trapped Underground in Zimbabwe Mine Collapse

Zimbabwe is home to vast gold and mineral reserves, including diamonds and platinum.
Zimbabwe is home to vast gold and mineral reserves, including diamonds and platinum.


At least two Zimbabwe miners were killed and 20 others trapped underground after a shaft collapsed in a gold mine in the centre of the country, state media and police reported on Thursday.

The incident occurred overnight at the Globe and Phoenix mine in the town of Kwekwe, around 200 kilometres (120 miles) west of Harare.

Authorities were first alerted early Thursday after the miners, who were working illegally, failed to surface at the end of their shift.

“We received the news about the unfortunate incident a few hours ago and we are running around coordinating a rescue mission,” the chair of provincial civil protection unit, Fortune Mpungu, told The Herald newspaper.

Both the police and the mines ministry later confirmed the incident.

Two miners died while one was injured and taken to hospital, police spokesman Paul Nyathi told AFP.

It was not immediately clear whether the others had been recovered.

“So far we don’t know what really happened or how many people were affected,” said the mine ministry’s permanent secretary Onesimo Moyo, adding that an inspection team had been dispatched to the area.

Mining is a major source of foreign currency for Zimbabwe.

The southern African country is home to vast gold and mineral reserves, including diamonds and platinum.

But a large share of mining is carried out in a small-scale, unregulated manner — diverting revenue from state coffers and increasing the likelihood of accidents.

Two dozen gold miners drowned in February last year after the mine shaft in which they operating flooded. The incident was caused by informal tunnelling that caused a dam wall to break.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.