Dar es Salaam, Tanzania — MINING REVIEW.COM — 31 March, 2009 – At least 20 people have been killed in northwest Tanzania where the walls of a small gold mine collapsed, burying workers inside.
Local media reports say the accident happened on Sunday in Geita, in the Mwanza region, when the 100 m pit the miners were working in was flooded by a heavy seasonal downpour. Some local media said more than 30 people might have been killed.
“I know there is no hope of finding anybody alive,” one miner who left the site just before the disaster, told the private daily Guardian newspaper. “We will just have to look for the bodies to give them a decent burial,” he added.
Tanzania is Africa’s third largest gold producer, with most of its output coming from big mines run by international companies. But Reuters reports that fatal accidents are common at the country’s other small-scale operations, which often lack basic safety equipment. More than 45 people were killed in the north last year when the gemstone pits they were working in were flooded.
A similar number suffocated in 2002 when a compressor used to pump clean air into another gemstone mine malfunctioned.