Gold panning sites are regularly the site of deadly landslides because the activities are dangerous and authorities struggle to control artisanal mining of the metal.
Published on January 24, 2024 5:47 p.m. Updated on January 24, 2024 5:54 p.m
Reading time: 1 min
Tunnels used by miners in Mali, in Koflatie, October 28, 2014. (SEBASTIEN RIEUSSEC / AFP)
More than 70 people died when a gallery collapsed at a gold panning site in southwest Mali on Friday, January 19, a tragedy of rare proportions in a Sahel region where mining accidents are a regular occurrence. “It started with a noise. The earth began to shake. There were more than 200 prospectors on the ground. The search is now over. We found 73 bodies,” Oumar Sidibé, a leader of the Kangaba gold miners, told AFP. The number of casualties was confirmed by a local elected official.
In a press release issued on Tuesday, January 23, the Ministry of Mines mentioned the deaths of several gold miners without giving an exact number. The government expressed “its deepest condolences to the grieving families and the Malian people.”
He called on “communities living near mining sites and gold miners to scrupulously respect safety requirements and only work in areas dedicated to gold panning.” Mali is one of the poorest countries in the world and one of the leading gold producers in Africa.
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