Landslide buries dozens at illegal Indonesian gold mine

Indonesia says one killed 60 feared buried in illegal mine landslide

Indonesia says one killed 60 feared buried in illegal mine landslide

Indonesia's disaster agency said on Wednesday rescuers were searching for survivors after more than 60 people were feared buried by the collapse of an illegal gold mine on the island of Sulawesi.

At least one person had been found dead and 13 others were injured in the Bolaang Mongondow region of North Sulawesi, a statement said.

He said recovery efforts were still ongoing as many of those buried were thought to still be alive.

The mine collapsed on Tuesday evening due to unstable soil and the large number of mining holes, it said.

Despite that, regional authorities often ignore the practice in more remote areas.

The families of the victims have started gathering at the mine to wait for news.

Images from the scene showed rescue teams and local people working through the night to carry survivors off a mud-covered hillside.

Indonesia says one killed 60 feared buried in illegal mine landslide
Rescuers evacuate a survivor from inside of a collapsed gold mine in Bolaang Mongondow North Sulawesi Indonesia

Landslides, flooding and collapses of tunnels are just some of the hazards in such mining: much of the processing of gold ore involves use of highly toxic mercury and cyanide by workers using little or no protection. Picture taken February 26, 2019.

As many as 60 people were buried, he said.

In September a deadly natural disaster and tsunami ravaged Sulawesi killing more than 2,100 people.

The country has numerous unlicensed gold mining sites subject to few if any safety regulations.

Landslides triggered by heavy rains and floods are common in parts of Indonesia during the rainy season.

Indonesia accounts for about 3 percent of world gold production.

Agung Pribadi, a spokesman for Indonesia's mining ministry, said by phone three mining inspectors had been sent to assist in the rescue and that illegal mines had recently been shut in the area. "If there is no poisonous gas they can survive for some time", he said.

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