More than a dozen killed in Niger gold mine collapse

At least 18 people killed and seven others injured in southern Niger after an artisanal mine collapsed, local mayor says.

At least 18 people died when an artisanal gold mine collapsed in southern Niger near the border with Nigeria, the local mayor has said.

“The provisional death toll is 18 people, whom we buried this morning,” Adamou Gueraou, mayor of Dan-Issa district, told the AFP news agency on Monday.

“There were also seven hospitalised with injuries,” he said, adding that Nigerian nationals were among the injured.

The accident on Sunday was sparked when artisanal wells collapsed at the Garin-Liman mine site in Maradi region, he said.

“Rescue operations are still going on, there might still be bodies trapped at the bottom of the pits,” a local source said.

The Garin-Liman mines were discovered only a few months ago, but thousands of miners have since flocked to the area.

For decades, Niger’s gold mines have attracted prospectors, particularly in the western Tillaberi region, now the scene of deadly rebel attacks, and in the north near the Libyan border.

Accidents at these sites are frequent because of soil instability and the outdated methods employed by the miners, according to the authorities.

Several artisanal gold mines were shut in 2017 as part of government efforts to modernise the industry.

Since 2004, Niger has had only one industrial mine at Samira in the Tillaberi region.

Source: AFP