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Over 70 People  are Dead after an Unregulated Gold Mine Collapses in Mali

An unregulated gold mine in Mali collapsed, claiming the lives of more than 70 individuals, with fears that the death toll may continue to rise. 

The tragedy unfolded in the Kangaba district within the southwestern Koulikoro region, and rescue efforts are underway as authorities scramble to locate any survivors.

Karim Berthé, a senior official at the National Geology and Mining Directorate, confirmed the incident, categorizing it as an accident. 

Approximately 100 individuals were inside the mine at the time of the collapse, as reported by Abdoulaye Pona, the president of the Mali Chamber of Mines, who was present at the scene.

Investigations into the cause of the collapse are ongoing, as authorities express concerns about the safety measures overlooked by artisanal miners, particularly in remote areas. 

Mali, Africa’s third-largest gold producer, has witnessed similar tragedies in the past, with informal miners often accused of neglecting safety protocols.

Berthé emphasized the need for the government to regulate the artisanal mining sector, emphasizing that such measures are crucial to preventing future accidents. 

The Ministry of Mines released a statement expressing deep regret over the incident, urging miners and communities in proximity to mining sites to adhere to safety requirements.

While concerns have previously been raised about unregulated mining financing extremist activities in northern Mali, this recent collapse occurred far south of that region, closer to the capital, Bamako.

Gold holds significant economic importance for Mali, constituting over 80% of the country’s total exports in 2021, according to the International Trade Administration with the U.S. Department of Commerce. 

More than 2 million people, or over 10% of Mali’s population, rely on the mining sector for their income.

Artisanal gold mining, accounting for approximately 6% of Mali’s annual gold production, produces around 30 tons of gold each year. 

The Ministry of Mines estimates that the country possesses 800 tons in gold deposits, with an estimated 2 million gold miners operating across roughly 300 artisanal mining sites, as mentioned by Pona. 

The incident underscores the urgent need for improved safety measures and regulation within the artisanal mining sector to avert such tragedies in the future.

Source: AfricaNews

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