Three dead, more missing after Ghana mine collapse: official

Two workers in an underground mine.

Two workers in an underground mine.

Three people were killed when an illegal gold mine collapsed in southern Ghana and rescuers were trying to reach at least a dozen more trapped inside, an emergency services official said on Wednesday.

Accidents in small-scale gold-mining, known locally as “galamsey”, are common in the West African nation and President Nana Akufo-Addo has vowed a crackdown to curb its environmental damage.

Local director for Ghana’s National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) Isaac Gyasi said they had recovered three bodies – two women and a man – from the mine in Upper West Denkyira District in Central Region.

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“We are not certain about the number of people trapped down there. The locals keep giving us different figures. Some are saying 15 people while others say 40,” he said.

“Until the excavators come in we’re unable to tell. It will take hours but we’ll get there.”

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

A number of major global mining players are involved in its industry but small-scale, illegal mining has been a persistent problem.

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