More than 38 dead after gold mine collapse in Fuja, Sudan

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Rescuers were working Wednesday to recover the dead and injured from a gold mine in a remote part of Sudan, three days after it collapsed, killing at least 38 people, a mining official said.

Dozens of people were killed on Tuesday when a former gold mine collapsed in West Kordofan province, Sudanese authorities said. The country’s state-owned mining company said in a statement that the collapse of the closed and non-functioning mine took place in the village of Fuja 700 kilometers (435 miles) south of the capital Khartoum. He said many people were injured without giving an exact count.

Local media reported that several shafts collapsed in the Darsaya mine and that in addition to the dead, at least eight injured people were taken to a local hospital.

The mining company posted images on Facebook showing villagers gathering at the site as at least two dredgers worked to find possible survivors. Other images showed people preparing traditional graves to bury the dead.

The company said the mine was not functional but local miners returned to work after security forces guarding the site left the area. He didn’t say when the mine stopped working.

The Sudanese Mineral Resources Limited Company, in its statement, called for troops to guard the site to prevent unregulated mining. He also called on local communities to help him resume mining activities in the region, which were suspended in 2019. He did not give further details.

Sudan is a major producer of gold with many mines scattered across the country. In 2020, the East African country produced 36.6 tonnes of gold, the continent’s second-largest, according to official figures. In 2018, Sudan exported 93 tonnes of gold.

Sudan is one of the poorest countries in the world, recently suffered from soaring inflation and embarked on drastic economic reforms, including cutting subsidies on gasoline and diesel and launching a float monetary managed. He is also reeling from the political turmoil following the coup led by the military leader, General Abdel-Fattah al-Burhan, on October 25.

Al-Burhan has held the civilian leader, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, under house arrest for weeks. After international pressure, including a cut to life-saving aid, al-Burhan reinstated him on November 21 as part of a deal promising elections in July 2023. The move alienated many pro-democracy supporters from Hamdok, who dismissed it as providing a cloak of legitimacy for al-Burhan’s coup.

The transitional government began regulating the industry over the past two years amid allegations of gold smuggling. Collapses are common in Sudan’s gold mines, where safety standards are not widely enforced.

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