Mozambique’s ministry of energy and mineral resources has confirmed the death of 11 mine workers as the result of a ruby mine collapse, saying that among the victims is a citizen of Guinea-Bissau.
The fatalities had already been announced by Montepuez Ruby Mining (MRM), the concessionaire of the collapsed mine.
“11 people died at three different times. The first death occurred on the 4th [of this month], when a wall of an illegal extraction area collapsed and fell on the victim, on the night of the 4th to 5th two more people died in the same area and between Wednesday and Thursday eight people died”, said the ministry’s Inspector General, Obete Matine.
The area where the incident took place is embankments of rubies that have already been exploited and that become unstable due to the heavy rain in the region, Obete Baloi said.
“With the rain, the slopes are not safe, they are not compact, they are unstable and when they are attacked from below they collapse,” Baloi explained.
Most of the 11 deaths took place at night, because in that period the security of the concessionaire company is not very effective, according to the inspector general of Mireme.
More than 30 people have died due to accidents involving illegal miners in Mozambique since the beginning of this year.
Obete Matine mentioned that the presence of a Guinea-Bissau citizen among the victims is further evidence that illegal mining and smuggling of minerals is a business driven by international networks.
The other 10 victims are from Nampula province.