At least 37 workers have died and many others have been injured in the Central African Republic in a gold-mine accident, according to the country's president's office.

The pit in which they were working collapsed after heavy rains on Sunday in Ndassima, about 440km east of the capital, Bangui, and a three-day period of national mourning has been declared.

"The toll of 37 is provisional as there were many injured," Prosper Ndouba, spokesman for the president's office, said on Monday.

Ndouba said that 10 injured miners had been rescued but there were an unknown number of bodies still to be recovered after the accident.

CAR, a former French colony, is rich in gold and diamonds but the country has endured decades of instability, with rebels
sweeping from the north of the country to topple the president in March.

Source: Agencies