Gold mine collapses in Sierra Leone, killing at least 200


FREETOWN (Reuters) – At least 200 people were killed when a trench collapsed at an

unofficial gold mine in Sierra Leone, the West African country's Ministry of Mineral

Resources said on Friday.
The accident occurred in the Bo district in the south of the country, about 180 miles from

the capital, Freetown.
"Over 200 artisanal gold miners were killed when a ... trench dug by the miners collapsed,"

a ministry spokesman said.
Unofficial gold mining is common in Africa where miners usually have no professional

training or equipment and often dig by hand. Accidents are frequent at the sites, which do

not meet safety standards found at professionally engineered mines.

"A forty feet pit was dug out to mine gold," a senior police source said. "Hundreds of

(miners) entered the pit, and when it collapsed it trapped them."

Children as young as 13 were working in the mine when it caved in, police said, adding

that around 20 people escaped.
Officials from the resources ministry were en route to the scene of the disaster on Friday,

the ministry spokesman said.

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