At least 50 killed in collapsed Congo gold mine

At least 50 people are thought to have died when a gold mine collapsed near Kamituga in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, a local mining NGO says.

The cave-in occurred on the Detroit mine site on Friday afternoon (local time) following heavy rains, said Emiliane Itongwa, president of the Initiative of Support and Social Supervision of Women.

“Several miners were in the shaft which was covered and no one could get out. We are talking about 50 young people,” she said.

Photos and videos on social media showed hundreds of people, some of whom could be heard wailing on a hillside around the mine-shaft entrance.

The mine was not located on the Kamituga gold concession owned by Canadian miner Banro Corporation, the company’s chief executive said.

Mining accidents are common in unregulated mines in Congo, with dozens of deaths every year in mines where often ill-equipped diggers burrow deep underground.

A landslide at a disused gold mine killed 16 in October last year, while 43 illegal miners died in another landslide at a copper and cobalt mine in June 2019.