Artisanal miners
at work in nearby
Sierra Leone
 
Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso — MININGREVIEW.COM — 11 August 2008 – More than 30 illegal gold miners have been killed and more are missing after a mine collapsed in Burkina Faso at the weekend after heavy rain.

Reporting from here, Reuters quotes state environmental director for Noumbiel province Maximin Savadogo as saying that the miners were working at a site near the village of Boussoukoula on Saturday when the mine walls collapsed. Witnesses reported that at least 50 people had been working in the mine, roughly 500 km south-west of the capital, near the border with Ivory Coast.

So far 34 bodies have been recovered, making this one of the country’s worst ever mining accidents.

Reuters reports that the miners were working despite a government order published in June banning artisanal mining until the end of September to avoid such deadly accidents during rainy seasons.

In August 2006 a similar collapse in a disused commercial gold mine at Poura, 180 km away, killed at least  as many people. The bodies of 10 more people thought to be working at the time were never recovered.

Low world gold prices killed off commercial gold mining in Burkina Faso in the late 1990s, but higher prices in recent years have drawn back commercial miners, as well as large numbers of artisanal miners hoping to dig their way out of poverty.