A gold mine collapse in Ghana’s Ashanti region on Monday has killed six people and left three injured, a local official has reported.

According to the local police, ten miners were inside the pit illegally digging for gold when the accident occurred.

Among the miners, one managed to escape unhurt and the three injured workers are being treated at a local hospital.

Ashanti regional minister Samuel Sarpong’s spokesperson Francis Dodovi said the miners were illegally digging on land belonging to a mining company in the town of Kyekyewere, and as they got a little bit too deep the tunnel caved in.

"The miners were illegally digging…and as they got a little bit too deep the tunnel caved in."

According to the deputy superintendent of the police Richard Anaaba Salifu, the miners were digging for gold on a concession area belonging to a mining firm Oweriman Mining Company, and were trapped about 8m underground after setting off an explosive device to blast rocks.

Ghana is the second-largest producer of gold in Africa. The country’s rich ore deposits and high gold prices have driven many people to take up illegal mining, including high numbers of foreign nationals and particularly Chinese people.

Despite the government’s initiative to tackle the situation in the Ashanti, Western, Eastern and Central Regions, and the deportation of 4,700 foreigners in 2013, many illegal miners continue to operate.

The country has witnessed many incidents in recent years, including the collapse of an abandoned gold mine in central Ghana in April 2013 that claimed 17 lives, and the collapse of a clandestine mine in 2010 that claimed 32.