Gold mine collapse in Congo’s Kamituga kills at least 50

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Accidents in artisanal (small-scale mine not owned by registered mining company) gold mines are frequently reported in the Democratic Republic of Congo. While the country enjoys natural richness in oil, minerals, timber, diamonds and other resources, the safety standards in the mines are said to be poor.

At least 50 people are presumed dead after an artisanal gold mine collapsed Friday afternoon near Kamituga, in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Reuters reported, citing a local mining NGO.

“Several miners were in the shaft which was covered and no one could get out. We are talking about fifty young people”, said Emiliane Itongwa, president of the Women’s Social Support and Supervision Initiative, cited by Reuters.

According to Itongwa, the collapse occured on the “Detroit” mine site at around 3 p.m. local (13:00 GMT), after heavy rains.

The reasons behind the incident were not immediately reported.

The Democratic Republic of Congo is rich in natural resources, and the accidents in artisanal gold mines are common in the area due primarily to poor safety standards and extremely dangerous work conditions.

According to reports, artisanal gold mines in Congo are controlled by armed groups that illegally levy taxes on workers.

Earlier in October, CNN reported that at least 22 people were killed in an artisanal gold mine collapse in Kampene town of Congo’s Maniema province.

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