By Dawn Cranfield
Darfur Gold Mine Collapses, 60 Dead
- 60 Dead
- Dozens still missing
- Mine shut down since Monday
Darfur – Heavy rains and disorganization may be to blame for the latest tragedy that has left at least 60 dead and many others unaccounted for in a gold mine in Darfur. According to a local commissioner, the mine collapse occurred in one of the shafts, approximately 130 feet deep.
Dozens more are still unaccounted for, and rescue efforts are ongoing; however, one eyewitness claims anybody still missing will be presumed dead.
Mining officials have stopped mining operations since Monday; a serious move for the country’s biggest export.
“South Sudan became a separate country in 2011, after fighting a long civil war against the government in Khartoum.” (online.wsj)
Two years ago, Sudan accelerated efforts in gold mining as an alternative to foreign revenue, determined to make up part of the 75% they lost in oil fields to South Sudan. Since then, gold has been the primary source of export revenue.
In 2012, Sudan made $2.2 billion in gold exports; they project exports of 50 million tons of gold this year according to President Umar al-Bashir in a statement to parliament on April 1. An accident like the one at the mine could have a huge impact on those figures.
With gold being such an important commodity in Sudan, it has become incredibly competitive; and in a region already prone to violence, fighting over mining is no different. Violence between two Arab tribes over mining and land rights in has left hundreds of people in the area dead.
“The violence in the area has also sent thousands into camps for internally displaced people.” (cnn.com)
Hamid al-Tijani, an eyewitness at the mines, thinks the death toll is bound to get higher. He does not have a positive outlook on any survivors, “Anyone not accounted for is presumed dead.” (cnn.com)