A landslide that occurred at a gold mine in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has claimed the lives of at least 16 people and injured several others.

The accident happened at an illegal mine in the province of Maniema.

Maniema province Governor Auguy Musafiri was quoted by Reuters as saying: “There was an accident at the Kampene mine, and for the moment we were able to get 16 bodies from the site of the landslide.”

“What surprises us is that the activities continued in this mine, which had been closed by the provincial division of mines.”

Local activist Stéphane Kamundala told the news agency that more than 20 people were working on the gold seam when the incident took place.

Stéphane also added that more dead bodies can be found at the site.

Every year, many people die in Congo because of traditional and unregulated mining methods and poor safety standards, said Reuters.

According to the BBC, DRC’s reserves of cobalt and other minerals such as diamonds, copper and gold, should make the nation one of the richest countries in Africa, but its people stand among the poorest.

Last month, a landslide killed 30 people at an illegal gold mine in Chad.

This July, the Myanmar Ministry of Information reported that 19 people died following a landslide in the Hpakant region of Myanmar’s Kachin state.

In June this year, an accident at a copper and cobalt mine in the DRC owned by British-Swiss mining multinational company Glencore claimed the lives of 43 illegal miners. The miners died after two galleries overlooking extraction areas caved in at the mine, operated by Glencore subsidiary Kamoto Copper Company (KCC).