Not less than 30 people were killed when a gold mine collapsed in northeastern Afghanistan on Sunday.
Nek Mohammad Nazari, a spokesman for the provincial governor, said.“Poor villagers during winters try to compensate their earnings by pursuing illegal mining. They dig tunnels to enter the mines,”
Badakhshan is a remote, mountainous province in northeast Afghanistan bordering Tajikistan, China and Pakistan.
A police spokesman for Badakhshan province, Sanaullah Rohani, earlier said the cause of the accident, which occurred in heavy snowfall, was a landslide.
The impoverished region is prone to landslides, particularly in the colder months when heavy snow blankets the province.
According to official reports, nother seven were injured in the incident in Kohistan district of Badakhshan province, district governor Mohammad Rustam Raghi told AFP.
Villagers had dug a 60-metre (200-feet) deep shaft in a river bed to search for gold. They were inside when the walls fell in.
It was not clear why the shaft collapsed, but the provincial governor’s spokesman Nik Mohammad Nazari told AFP the miners were not professionals.
“The villagers have been involved in this business for decades with no government control over them,” Nazari said.
“We have sent a rescue team to the area, but villagers have already started removing bodies from the site.”
“The people were using an excavator to dig a big hole in the river when it collapsed, trapping dozens of workers,” Raghi said.
Rohani said about 50 illegal miners were present in the mine when the incident occurred and two rescue teams were deployed to help the injured. Landslides are frequent in the northern mountainous provinces of Afghanistan.