The death toll from the collapse of an illegal gold mine at Rosebel, one of South America’s largest open-pit gold projects, climbed to 14 on Tuesday after more bodies were recovered from the facility.
On Monday evening, President Chandrikapersad Santokhi had informed the National assembly that 10 bodies had been pulled from the mine following the accident, which occurred at 3.00 pm (local time) and that the temporary constructed tunnel “with a considerable depth” had buried a number of gold miners.
“As a government, we are shocked and offer our condolences to the relatives,” Santokhi said, adding that the government is considering declaring a day or more days of national mourning.
Santokhi said the accident happened in the gold concession of the Chinese-owned Zijing Mining, which acquired Rosebel Goldmines from IamGold earlier this year. Rosebel is one of South America’s largest open-pit gold projects. But that the presence of illegal gold miners is said to have created an unsafe situation in the area.
Santokhi said that at the request of Zijing Mining, a large number of illegal gold diggers were removed by the police and army a few weeks ago from the place where a large gold vein had been discovered.
However, the group of illegal miners reportedly returned after a few days.
Police officers and soldiers as well as members of the National Disaster Management Coordination Center have been dispatched to the area to provide assistance. An investigation team led by the Attorney General has been appointed to probe the incident.
The authorities say that if it becomes necessary, Suriname will request assistance from Brazil in the rescue operation.
PARAMARIBO, Suriname, Nov 21, CMC –