By Baba Ahmed, The Associated Press on January 24, 2024.
BAMAKO, Mali (AP) – An official in Mali says more than 70 people are dead after an informal gold mine collapsed late last week, and a search continues amid fears the toll could rise.
Karim Berthé, a senior official at the government’s National Geology and Mining Directorate, confirmed the details to The Associated Press on Wednesday and called it an accident.
It was not immediately clear what caused the collapse that occurred on Friday and was reported on Tuesday in a Ministry of Mines statement that estimated “several” miners dead. The collapse occurred in Kangaba district in the southwestern Koulikoro region.
Such accidents are common in Mali, Africa’s third-largest gold producer. Artisanal miners – small-scale, informal ones – are often accused of ignoring safety measures, especially in remote areas.
“The state must bring order to this artisanal mining sector to avoid these kinds of accidents in the future,” Berthé said.
The Ministry of Mines statement “deeply regretted” the collapse and urged miners as well as communities living near mining sites to “comply with safety requirements.”