At least 50 killed in DRC mine collapse

Two workers in an underground mine

At least 50 people are feared dead after a gold mine collapsed in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), local authorities have said.

Bundya blamed "soil subsidence caused by torrential rain" for the accident.

The mine is located in the town of Kamituga, in South Kivu province.

Provincial governor Theo Ngwabidje Kasi deplored 'the tragic deaths of 50 people, a lot of them young.

Kamituga mayor Alexandre Bundya said he did not know how many miners were working at the time of the flooding, but that 19 families were searching for missing loved ones.

It's reported that several miners were in the shaft when it caved in following heavy rains. The high pressure of the water unabled the miners to run out of the tunnels.

Hundreds of people gathered at the entrance to one of the tunnels, a video sent to AFP by the witness showed.

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The cause of the landslide is now under investigation.

Accidents in DRC's makeshift mines are common and often deadly.

A landslide at a disused gold mine killed 16 in October past year, while 43 illegal miners died in another landslide at a copper and cobalt mine in June 2019.

DR Congo has rich reserves of minerals like cobalt, diamonds, copper and gold, but its people remain among the poorest in the world following years of conflict and mismanagement.

The illegal miners sell what they find to local traders, who sell it on to large foreign companies and usually are paid a pittance.

Thousands of informal miners operate in and around mines in DRC, which produces more than half of the world's cobalt, a key component in electric vehicle batteries.

Mining hardly benefits DR Congo's 80mn people.

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