The collapse of an artisanal gold mine in Niger has reportedly resulted in the deaths of at least 18 people and injured seven other miners.
The incident took place on 7 November at the Garin-Liman mine site in the Maradi region when artisanal wells collapsed, according to the Agence France-Presse (AFP).
The mine is located in southern Niger near the border with Nigeria.
Dan-Issa district mayor Adamou Gueraou told the news agency: “The provisional death toll is 18 people, whom we buried this morning.
“There were also seven hospitalised with injuries.”
A local source was cited by the news agency as saying: “Rescue operations are still going on, there might still be bodies trapped at the bottom of the pits.”
Since the discovery of the Garin-Liman mines earlier this year, thousands of miners have travelled to the site to explore potential resources.
According to the authorities, accidents are frequent at these sites due to the instability of the soil and ‘outdated methods’ to mine the resources.
The Niger Government closed several artisanal gold mines in 2017 to modernise the industry.
In September this year, mine operator Vale suspended production at Canada’s Totten mine after 39 workers were trapped underground, all of whom were eventually rescued.
Earlier this year, two separate accidents at coal mines in China resulted in the deaths of four people.