Horror as DRC gold mine caves in

Dozens of people die each year in accidents in largely unregulated artisanal mines in Congo, where often ill-equipped diggers borrow deep underground in search for ore.

15 September 2020 | Business

… they often don't have the financial means or access to technology to dig and shore up the tunnels properly. - Sara Geenen, Associate professor: University of Antwerp

Crispin Kyala – Informal gold miners in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo scoured rubble at the weekend for more than 50 colleagues presumed dead after a mine collapsed under the weight of heavy rain.

Hundreds of young men in rubber boots crowded around the site of Friday's cave-in, with some removing rocks by hand from the muddy hillside, video footage showed.

Dozens of people die each year in accidents in largely unregulated artisanal mines in Congo, where often ill-equipped diggers borrow deep underground in search for ore.

Alexandre Kamundala, deputy mayor of the nearby town of Kamituga, said no bodies had been recovered so far.

"The rescue teams have been working hard since this morning to try to find bodies, but given the lack of working tools, they are finding it difficult to move forward efficiently with the search."

Protective equipment

Cave-ins, landslides, and asphyxia are common risks faced by artisanal miners, who rarely have any protective equipment beyond rubber boots, according to Sara Geenen, an assistant professor at the University of Antwerp in Belgium who has conducted research at artisanal gold mines around Kamituga.

"Being an old mining town, Kamituga does have quite a lot of people with geological and technical expertise, but they often don't have the financial means or access to technology to dig and shore up the tunnels properly," Geenen said in an email.

A World Bank report last year estimated the number of small-scale miners in Congo at 2 million, many more than work in industrial gold, copper and cobalt mines owned by companies like Glencore and Barrick Gold.

Shock

Kinyenye Furaha passed out from shock when he realised a mine collapse in eastern Congo had buried more than 50 fellow miners including his brother, he said on Sunday, as the hunt continued for bodies two days after the disaster.

Before the rain started, Furaha had left the site to remove some large rocks. Soon after, a child ran up to say water was rising in the mine, Furaha told Reuters.

"We went back there and found only the pit filled with water. And that's when I lost consciousness," he said.

Miners were caught out because the wet season is yet to get fully underway, said Kamituga mayor Alexandre Bundia.

"The main problem is that people did not heed the rain," he said outside his office in the mining town in Congo's mountainous and mineral-rich South Kivu province.

Scores of men in rubber boots gathered again on Sunday at the mine site on a muddy hillside. A rescue team passed sacks of earth out of the pit in the search for the buried miners, who are all presumed dead.

Back in Kamituga, women gathered to mourn their lost relatives. Sitting close together on the floor, they stared into the distance without speaking, while one held a sleeping baby to her chest. – Nampa/Reuters

Similar News

 

What I need to know about VAT as a...

14 hours ago | Business

A little place to call one’s own and to hopefully retire in is a goal many of us share. Whether your intention is to buy...

Company news in brief

14 hours ago | Business

Glencore in nickel supply talksGlencore CEO Ivan Glasenberg said on Friday that the company is talking with carmakers and battery makers about nickel - a...

Nothing beats The Bakery Den

3 days ago - 16 October 2020 | Business

Monique Adams “If baking is any labour at all, it’s a labour of love. A love that gets passed from generation to generation.” – Regina...

Company news in brief

3 days ago - 16 October 2020 | Business

Ryanair slashes winter flightsRyanair said yesterday that it will slash more flights this winter, temporarily shutting bases in Cork and Shannon in Ireland, and Toulouse...

Agriculture offers attractive monetary returns

4 days ago - 15 October 2020 | Business

PHILLEPUS UUSIKUAgriculture is one of Namibia’s most important sectors and is a significant source of economic growth and industrial transformation.Most of Namibia’s population is dependent...

COMPANY NEWS IN BRIEF

4 days ago - 15 October 2020 | Business

Apple enters 5G race with iPhone 12 Apple Inc launched its next-generation iPhone 12, with faster 5G connectivity that the California company hopes will spur...

Caught in controversy

5 days ago - 14 October 2020 | Business

Jo-Maré Duddy – Namibia’s fishing sector continues to find itself in stormy waters and is set this year for its first contraction since 2015.The Bank...

Housing project opens doors for timber

5 days ago - 14 October 2020 | Business

Two local businesses have come up with a solution to utilise locally harvested timber which cannot be exported.The Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism in...

High level tax considerations for the banking sector

5 days ago - 14 October 2020 | Business

Carmen Fransman - The value-added tax implications for the banking sector is regulated Schedule IV(2)(a) of the VAT Act, 2000, with the definitions. This schedule...

Pandemic spurs illegal gold rush in Zim

5 days ago - 14 October 2020 | Business

Farai Shawn Matiashe - Known for their rugged ranges, grassy plains and forest waterfalls, the Chimanimani mountains in eastern Zimbabwe have long been a popular...

Latest News

PDK bags Song of The...

2 hours ago | Art and Entertainment

Windhoek • Michael Kayunde The Namibian Annual Music Awards (NAMAs) hosted another exciting edition of its premium live stream concerts on Saturday, 17 October.Featuring the...

Agribank disburses loans worth millions

14 hours ago | Banking

Agribank disbursed loans worth over N$246 million in the financial year ended 31 March 2020.At its virtual annual general meeting on Thursday, Agribank said more...

1nvest gold, platinum ETFs list...

14 hours ago | Economics

Staff Reporter - Specialist index tracking fund provider 1nvest, a collaboration between Standard Bank, Liberty and STANLIB, on Friday announced the listing of its gold...

RCC’s 254 workers still paid...

14 hours ago | Labour

OGONE TLHAGEWINDHOEKEmployees of the Roads Contractor Company (RCC) continue to be paid from the government’s contingency fund, with Cabinet yet to reach a decision about...

State withdraws GBV case over...

14 hours ago | Justice

KENYA KAMBOWERUNDUThe State has withdrawn charges of gender-based violence (GBV) against the Swapo councillor for Rundu Rural Constituency, Michael Shikongo, on the grounds that the...

Geingob ‘attack’ on whites condemned

14 hours ago | Politics

JEMIMA BEUKESWINDHOEKPresident Hage Geingob has been roundly condemned for equating white Namibians registering for next month’s election to an act of ‘war’.Officially opening Swapo’s campaign...

What I need to know...

14 hours ago | Business

A little place to call one’s own and to hopefully retire in is a goal many of us share. Whether your intention is to buy...

Criminalise long suspensions

14 hours ago | Opinion

Hundreds of government and public enterprise employees are currently on suspension with full pay.Some of them have been on suspension for as long as two...

Air Namibia creditor rejects settlement...

14 hours ago | Transport

OGONE TLHAGEWINDHOEKBelgian company Challenge Air SA has rejected a settlement offered by Air Namibia, citing mistrust in the airline’s ability to make good on its...

Load More