Over 70 individuals lost their lives in a tunnel collapse at a gold mining site in Mali last week, as confirmed by a local gold mining group leader and a regional official on Wednesday, Times of India reported.
The incident occurred in the southwestern town of Kangaba, where more than 200 gold miners were working.
Oumar Sidibe, an official representing gold miners, shared the grim details, stating: "It started with a noise. The earth started to shake. There were over 200 gold miners in the field. The search is over now. We've found 73 bodies." A local councillor corroborated the same toll.
While Mali's Ministry of Mines acknowledged the tragic event in a statement on Tuesday, the precise figures were not disclosed. The government expressed its "deepest condolences to the grieving families and the Malian people."
Additionally, it urged communities near mining sites and gold miners to strictly adhere to safety requirements and operate only within designated areas for gold panning.
Mali, ranked among the world's poorest nations, is one of Africa's primary gold producers. The country's gold mining sites often witness deadly landslides, highlighting the challenges authorities face in regulating artisanal mining practices.
In 2022, Mali produced 72.2 tonnes of gold, with the metal contributing significantly to the national budget, export earnings, and GDP, as detailed by the former Minister of Mines, Lamine Seydou Traore, in March of the previous year.