At least 31 miners were killed and eight are missing in Sudan on Tuesday after a rudimentary gold mine collapsed, a government official said.
The disaster occurred near Nuhud, a town about 500 kilometres west of Khartoum, said Khaled Dahwa, the head of the state-run Mineral Resources Company in West Kordofan.
“Thirty-one traditional miners were killed because of a mine collapsing,” he told AFP. He said one person survived and eight others were still missing.
Another official at the company said four miners were killed at the same mine in January.
“Authorities at the time shut down the mine and installed security, but a couple of months ago they left,” he said.
Artisanal gold mining is a dangerous profession in Sudan, largely because of the ramshackle infrastructure.
The industry flourished about a decade ago in various parts of country, with people digging using excavators in the hope of unearthing the precious metal.
About two million artisanal miners produce about 80 per cent of the country’s annual gold production, which is about 80 tonnes, according to official figures.
Sudan, one of the world’s poorest countries, has recently suffered runaway inflation and embarked on tough economic reforms, including slashing subsidies on petrol and diesel and launching a managed currency float.
It is also reeling from political turbulence in the wake of a military takeover led by Gen Abdel Fattah Al Burhan on October 25.