At least 31 miners were killed and eight missing in Sudan on Tuesday when a rudimentary gold mine collapsed, a government official said.
The disaster occurred near Nuhud, a town about 500 kilometres (310 miles) west of Khartoum, said Khaled Dahwa, the head of the state-run Mineral Resources Company in West Kordofan.
“Thirty-one traditional miners were killed because of a mine collapsing,” he told AFP, adding one person survived and eight others were still missing.
Another official at the company said four miners were killed at the same mine in January.
“Authorities at the time shut down the mine and installed security but a couple of months ago they left,” he said.
Artisanal gold mining is a dangerous profession in Sudan largely due to ramshackle infrastructure.
It flourished around a decade ago in various parts of country, with people digging the ground using excavators in hopes of unearthing the precious metal.
About two million artisanal miners produce about 80 percent of the country’s annual gold production of around 80 tonnes, according to official figures.
Sudan, one of the world’s poorest countries, has recently suffered runaway inflation and embarked on tough economic reforms, including slashing subsidies on petrol and diesel and launching a managed currency float.
It is also reeling from political turbulence in the wake of a coup-led military chief General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan on October 25.