Sunday 23 July 2017

Ghana goldmine death toll rises to 22

Ghana goldmine death toll rises to 22
(AFP 07/08/17)

Twenty-two miners have now been declared dead after an illegal goldmine collapsed in western Ghana, police said, increasing the toll from 17.

Nsuta district police commander Superintendent Atsu Dzinaku said the toll was revised after more family members came forward to say one of their relatives was missing.

"Initially they said five, 14, then 17, now 22," he told AFP by telephone.

The abandoned mine, which was more than 80 metres (260 feet) deep, collapsed on Sunday. A decision to end a rescue operation for survivors was taken on Thursday.

The mine was filled in with the approval of the missing miners' families because of the risk of further collapse. Burial rituals were performed.

Dzinaku said police had taken statements from those that managed to escape and were searching for the owners of the mine.

"We want to make sure those involved, especially the owners, will be brought to book," he added.

"They can answer why they should operate that place because government said they should stop operation."

The accident has been blamed on small-scale gold mining, known in Ghana as "galamsey", which has recently been the target of a government crackdown on environmental grounds.

Ghana is Africa's second-largest gold producer. Exports of the yellow metal, along with other minerals and oil, drive the country's economy.

The industry involves a number of major global players but small-scale, illegal mining has been a persistent problem and accidents are frequent.

In 2010, at least 45 people were killed when an illegal mine collapsed after heavy rains.

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