Home » Tragedy Strikes as Illegal Goldmine Collapse Claims 22 Lives in Tanzania Amid Heavy Rains

Tragedy Strikes as Illegal Goldmine Collapse Claims 22 Lives in Tanzania Amid Heavy Rains

Unsafe Small-Scale Mining Persists Despite Government Efforts to Enhance Safety

by Ikeoluwa Ogungbangbe

In a tragic incident, the collapse of an illegal small-scale goldmine in northern Tanzania has claimed the lives of at least 22 people, as confirmed by a senior government official on Sunday. This devastating event unfolded following heavy rains, underscoring the ongoing challenges in ensuring the safety of small-scale mining operations.

The accident occurred in the early hours of Saturday in the Simiyu region, where a group of individuals, aged between 24 and 38, embarked on mining activities in an area where mining had been restricted due to the persistently heavy rains. Simon Simalenga, the Bariadi district commissioner of the region, conveyed this distressing development to Reuters.

He stated, “Initially, we were told that there were 19 to 20 people who were trapped in the mines, but unfortunately, we ended up retrieving 22 bodies.” He further added that the search and rescue operation was still ongoing, although most of the rubble that had entombed the miners had been removed.

Simalenga explained that the group had stumbled upon a mineral-rich area approximately two to three weeks prior and began mining operations before the government had granted approval for the requisite safety and environmental procedures.

“The regional mining officer visited them and stopped them from mining as it was working on the required procedures,” he recounted. However, the group defied the order, initiating mining activities late on Friday, ultimately leading to the tragic cave-in that resulted in their entrapment.

Despite ongoing efforts by the government to enhance safety measures for small-scale miners, including the establishment of regulations, unsafe and unregulated illegal mining activities persist in Tanzania. The nation ranks as Africa’s fourth-largest gold producer, following South Africa, Ghana, and Mali.

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