An illegal gold mine collapsed in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on Wednesday killing fourteen people.
According to Minister of national solidarity and humanitarian action, Steve Mbikayi, the accident happened at Kampene, 180 kilometres (110 miles) south of the town of Kindu.
“Fourteen dead, three hospitalised with serious injuries. The search for more continues,” Mbikayi said in a tweet.
Also giving a preliminary toll, civil society campaigner Justin Kyanga Asumani said of the 15 bodies recovered two of them were women.
Deadly accidents are frequent in DRC’s informal mining sector, especially in gold.
Safety is poor and risk-taking is high. Subsistent miners rush to an area where valuable minerals are discovered, often digging deep shafts that then collapse.
Kyanga said the accident happened at around 2pm, when “dozens of people, including children and pregnant women” were at work on the site.
In June, more than 40 illegal miners died at a copper concession in Kolwezi, Southeastern DRC, belonging to Kamoto Copper Company (KCC), a subsidiary of Swiss company Glencore.
Kyanga said the illegal mine in Kampene had been operating for around a decade, a situation that underscored “the lack of oversight and the inactivity by state bodies”.