Local civil society activists claim that at least 50 people were killed on Friday, September 11, after a shaft collapsed at an artisanal gold mining site in the Kamituga area of South Kivu. The collapse at the unregulated Detroit mine, which is separate from the official Kamituga mining concession, occurred at around 15:00 (local time) and is believed to have been caused by several days of heavy rain in the area which destabilized the ground around the site.
Major artisanal mining accidents in eastern areas of the DRC have previously prompted large-scale protests by local communities against the government and major commercial mine operators.
Shaft collapses and other accidents are common in the DRC's unregulated artisanal mining sector, in which thousands of people work marginal or abandoned mines without appropriate safety measures or emergency response capabilities. Hundreds of artisanal miners have been killed in such accidents in the country's eastern region in recent years, often prompting hostility from local communities towards the government and commercial mining interests.
Individuals in South Kivu are advised to monitor the situation, avoid the vicinity of the incident in the near term, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.
A number of Western governments advise their citizens against travel to the east and northeast of the country due to poor security conditions, including the presence of armed groups and a high risk of kidnapping. Professional security advice should be sought prior to travel.
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