Saturday, 14 April 2018

Around 40 killed in collapse at gold mine in South Kivu Province, Democratic Republic of Congo.

Around 40 miners are thought to have died and another ten have been injured in a landslip in an open pit gold mine in the village of Makuku, near Nyange, in South Kivu Province, Democratic Republic of Congo. The incident is reported to have happened on Friday 13 April 2018, following heavy rain in the area. Landslides are a common problem after severe weather events, as excess pore water pressure can overcome cohesion in soil and sediments, allowing them to flow like liquids. Approximately 90% of all landslides are caused by heavy rainfall, and mining spoil tips and exposed open pit mines in soft sediments are particularly vulnerable to such problems.

The approximate location of the Makuku mine. Google Maps.

The Democratic Republic of Congo one of the world's largest producer of precious metals, but benefits little from the industry. The country has suffered years of political instability and has extremely poor infrastructure, is heavily indebted and has a chronic corruption problem, which means that little of the wealth generated from the industry makes it into government coffers, and that which does is unlikely to be spent on development or other projects likely to benefit the population. These problems are made worse by a series of conflicts in the area, which plays host to rebel groups opposed to the Congolese government and militiamen that fled the 1994 conflict in Rwanda and have never returned. In addition the area has suffered incursions from several neighboring countries, mostly with an official purpose of defending borders against Congo's instability, but with a strong interest in the coltan industry. Militia groups linked to neighboring states also operate in the area, and again are said to be involved in illegal mining.

The lack of government control of the area, and low regard for human life held by many of the groups operating in the area, means that safety precautions at mines in the area are almost non-existent, with many mines simply being large holes dug into poorly consolidated sediments. The area suffers extremely high levels of rainfall (it is the source from which the Congo, Nile and Zambesi rivers originate), and mines can rapidly turn into death-traps as their sides turn to mud and collapse upon the miners.

See also...

http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2017/12/magnitude-51-earthquake-in-south-kivu.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2017/09/magnitude-50-earthquake-in-south-kivu.html
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2017/08/over-100-feared-dead-after-landslide-in.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2017/07/magnitude-53-earthquake-beneath-lake.html
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2017/05/kidnapped-mineworkers-released-in.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2016/10/gorilla-beringei-graueri-grauers.html
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