Indonesian illegal mine collapse kills 6
An illegal gold mine in Indonesia’s Sulawesi island collapsed on nearly two dozen people working inside, killing six and leaving another worker missing, officials said on Thursday.
Survivors estimated about 22 people were trapped in the rubble when the mine in Central Sulawesi Province’s Parigi Moutong district collapsed late on Wednesday, said Andrias Hendrik Johannes, who heads the local search and rescue agency.
Rescuers pulled 15 people from the debris and recovered the bodies of three women during a grueling search by yesterday morning, he said.
The bodies of two men and a woman were found in the afternoon.
Police, emergency personnel, soldiers and volunteers were trying to locate one worker.
Their efforts were hampered by the remote location and the unstable soil.
Illegal or informal mining operations are common in the country, providing a tenuous livelihood to those who labor in conditions with a high risk of serious injury or death.
Landslides, flooding and collapses of tunnels are just some of the hazards.
Much of the processing of gold involves the use of highly toxic mercury and cyanide by workers with little or no protection.
Indonesia accounts for about 3 percent of world gold production. Most comes from the Grasberg mine in Papua province, with US$40 billion in reserves and up to 20,000 workers.