At least 60 people have been killed by a landslide at a gold mine in a remote corner in northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo, a local administrator says.

Faustin Drakana Kananga told the Associated Press news agency on Thursday that the accident took place on Monday in Pangoyi in Orientale province.

The miners were 100 metres underground when the accident occurred, Radio Okapi reported on its website.

Kanaganga said rescue efforts had been hampered because the dense jungle area is controlled by members of a militia.

Congo, a vast nation in central Africa bedevilled by conflict, is mired in poverty. The nation has been scarred by decades of dictatorship.

Many Congolese try to eke out a living through small-scale mining, a dangerous and unregulated practice.

Accidents are common in open-pit mines, where there are few if any safety precautions.

Hundreds of thousands of people work in unsafe conditions, some of them forced to mine by some of the armed groups and government soldiers who illegally profit from Congo's massive mineral resources.

Mining companies AngloGold Ashanti and Randgold operate in the region, which is known to be rich in tin and gold.

Source: Agencies