At least 50 people are believed to be dead after a gold mine collapsed in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The artisanal gold mine collapsed near Kamituga at around 3pm on Friday following heavy rain, a local non-governmental organisation (NGO) has said.
Rescue teams are currently searching through the rubble, but no bodies have been found yet, according to reports.
Pictures posted to social media show large crowds of people gathered at the scene.
Emiliane Itongwa, president of the Initiative of Support and Social Supervision of Women, said ‘several young people and fathers’ who worked as artisanal miners lost their lives in three wells including Nivelle, Kubota and Tendi.
“Several miners were in the shaft which was covered and no one could get out. We are talking about 50 young people,” Itongwa said.
“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 artisanal mines in Congo, with dozens of deaths every year in mines where often ill-equipped diggers borrow deep underground in search for ore.
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.
Reports said the city was in ‘great mourning’ after the tragedy.
Accidents on artisanal gold mines are said to be frequently reported in the DRC.
The mine was not located on the Kamituga gold concession owned by Canadian miner Banro Corporation, the company’s chief executive said.