Sunday, 17 June 2018

Landslide kills four artisanal gold miners in Honduras.

Four miners have died and another five have been injured in a landslide at an artisanal gold mine near El Retiro in Olancho Department, Honduras, on Saturday 16 June 2018. The incident reportedly happened at the end of the day, when the miners were cleaning ore extracted during the day. The miners have not been identified, but they have been described as two men and two women.

The approximate location of a Honduran mine where four workers were killed in a landslide on 16 June 2018. Google Maps.

Artisanal mining is widespread in Olancho Department, where subsistence farmers often supplement their income in one of the poorest countries in the world. Such mines are technically illegal, and are generally constructed without any consideration to health and safety measures.

It is unclear whether the landslide was triggered by the activities of the miners, or whether it was caused by rainfall. Landslides are a common problem after severe weather events, as excess pore water pressure overcomes the sediments cohesion and allows it to flow downhill. Approximately 90% of all landslides are caused by heavy rainfall. June falls in the rainy season in southern Honduras, which lasts from May to September.

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