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June 16, 2024
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Dozens Feared Trapped After Nigerian Gold Mine Collapse

Rescuers searched Thursday for dozens of workers who were trapped when a gold mine collapsed in northcentral Nigeria, authorities and residents said.

The pit collapsed on Monday in Niger state’s remote Shiroro district after heavy rains softened the soil. State emergency services said one person was confirmed dead and at least 30 others were missing. Residents, however, said as many as 44 remained trapped.

Much of northern Nigeria is rich in minerals, but corruption, illegal operations and poor working conditions are common in mining operations because the deposits are mostly in remote areas with a minimal government presence.

First responders “had to run for their lives as the mine kept falling inside,” Abdullahi Arah, head of the Niger State Emergency Management Agency, said in a preliminary report.

Rescue operations soon resumed, but expanding the deep pit to locate the trapped workers has been challenging, emergency services spokesperson Ibrahim Hussaini said.

“When you have something almost as tall as a three-story building down into the ground, how will an excavator get to that place?” he said.

On Thursday, distraught families watched as rescuers worked to remove the remaining debris.

The mine collapsed on Yakubu Galkogo’s first day of work, and his wife and two children are very worried, his brother, Auwal Suleiman, said.

Suleiman urged the government to deploy more workers and equipment for the rescue. “There is a lot of tension here,” he said.

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