A gold mine collapse has killed at least 37 miners in the Central African Republic. African government officials have announced the disaster, which happened yesterday in Ndassima.
The workers were trapped and killed when the mine collapsed under pressure from heavy rains. Prosper Ndouba, a spokesman for the presidency, made the announcement. As reported by Reuters, three days of national mourning have been imposed on the entire country.
Officials warn that the preliminary death toll may rise as only 10 workers were found alive. The total number of trapped miners is currently unknown. The numbers may increase as the rescue efforts continue.
The gold mine collapse is another grim reminder of the perils of mining. Despite efforts to follow safety requirements, a collapse can happen at any time. Heavy rains, which cause structural damage, only increase the danger.
Underground mines are especially dangerous as there is often little warning of collapse and nowhere to run. The rescue efforts could take weeks as tons of dirt, rock, and debris must be removed to recover the workers.
As the Central African Republic’s most profitable industry, mining has come under intense scrutiny. It has long been suspected that diamond profits are used to fund rebel groups, hence the term “conflict diamonds” or “blood diamonds.”
Officials have stated that only 1 percent of diamonds worldwide are considered “conflict diamonds.” However, the negative association persists.
Gold mining is not as profitable as diamond mining, and it does not carry as much of a negative stigma. However, gold is quite plentiful in the region. As reported by MBendi.com, several tons of gold are mined every year in the Central African Republic.
The mining industry is very profitable. However, one accident can take the lives of dozens. A gold mine collapse has killed at least 37, and the death toll is expected to rise. Central African officials continue their efforts to assess the damage.
[Image via Flickr]