A landslide at an illegal small-scale gold mine in northern Tanzania has killed 22 people, government officials said on Sunday.
The landslide, which occurred in the early hours of Saturday morning at the Ng’alita mine in Bariadi district, was caused by heavy rainfall in the area.
District Commissioner Simon Simalenga told Reuters the victims of the landslide, all of which were men, had continued to mine at the site after an agreement had been met to suspend activity until the poor weather and dangerous conditions passed.
”The regional mining officer visited them and stopped them from mining as it was working on the required procedures,” Simalenga said. “Initially we were told that there were 19 to 20 people who were trapped in the mines, but unfortunately we ended up retrieving 22 bodies.”
Acting commander of the country’s fire and rescue services Faustine Mtitu told Tanzanian newspaper Daily News on Monday that they are not expecting to find any more bodies.
“After two days of the rescue operation which involved the citizens, the police force, some experts from government institutions and machineries, all together succeeded in recovering all bodies which were covered by land. We have confirmed that there are no other bodies left in the mine,” he said.
How well do you really know your competitors?
Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.
Your download email will arrive shortly
Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample
We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below formBy GlobalData
Minerals Minister Antony Mavunde visited the mine after the incident and urged all small-scale miners across the country to abide by the country’s mining laws, adding that they should take better safety precautions during their mining activities.
Tanzania President Samia Suluhu Hassan offered her condolences in a tweet posted to X, formerly Twitter, on Sunday. She said: “These brothers of ours were small miners in this area, earning a living for themselves, their families and contributing to the development of our nation… I send my condolences to the brothers, relatives and friends who lost their relatives in this accident.”
Tragedies at small, unregulated mines in Africa and elsewhere are not uncommon. Over the past few years, hundreds of men have died in disasters at illegal or small-scale mines globally.
Clashes between authorities and miners in some countries are also rife. Last year, Ghana saw drawn-out tensions between illegal gold miners and police forces, sparking deadly protests in affected areas.