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12 miners still missing after North Darfur shaft collapse

September 21 - 2022 JEBEL AMER
Artisanal miners in Sudan (File photo: Wikimedia commons)
Artisanal miners in Sudan (File photo: Wikimedia commons)

Eight bodies have been retrieved from the rubble, while 12 miners are still unaccounted for after a shaft collapsed in the Jebel Amer gold mining area of El Sereif locality in North Darfur on Sunday. Local rescuers complain that there has been no response from civil defence authorities, so the search must be conducted manually, and is complicated by the depth of the shafts.

Callers from the area told Radio Dabanga that the victims were all artisanal miners, known locally as El Kumjia, who are mostly adventurous young men who enter abandoned and worked-out gold mining shafts to find remaining deposits that are no longer economical for mainstream commercial mining companies.

They say that some of the props and supports in the shafts were removed or gave way, leading to the collapse.

In an interview with Radio Dabanga, local miners lamented the difficulties facing the search for the missing miners, as they have no equipment and must conduct the search within the dee shafts manually.

Such incidents occur frequently and contribute to the human cost of gold extraction in Sudan.

At least eight miners were killed in the collapse of four mining shafts in the Karakil mine, north of Zalingei in Central Darfur on May 5.

Witnesses from the area told Radio Dabanga, that after a search that had to be done manually, they managed to retrieve eight bodies from the rubble.

Gold is Sudan’s largest export commodity, however the country’s gold production comes at a high human cost, as it has traditionally largely been driven by unregulated, artisanal (individual subsistence) mining, which is highly hazardous to the miners. The transitional government began to regulate the mining and export of the precious metal two years ago, and stiffer control measures were introduced in March this year.

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