Thursday, 26 September 2019

Around thirty feared to have died in a collapse at a gold mine in the Tibesti Mountains of northern Chad.

Around 30 people are feared to have died following a collapse at a gold mine near Kouri Bougoudi in Tibesti Region in northern Chad on Tuesday 24 September 2019. The incident happened at an unregistered and unregulated mine described as 'illegal' by the Chadian government, one of a number of such mines that have appeared in the area since the discovery of gold there in 2012. Kouri Bougoudi lies in an area close to the border with Libya in a province that has rebelled against the government in N'Jamena several times since independence, usually with suport from Libya, and which is still home to several rebel groups fighting against that government. The area is also home to a large number of refugees from the conflicts in Libya and Sudan, many of whom are reported to be working in the illegal mining industry.

The entrance to an artisanal pit mine dug for gold near Kouri Bougoudi in northern Chad. Ruth Nesoba/Twitter.

Like may other African countries, Chad has granted concessions to mining companies in areas where small-scale artisanal mining has traditionally helped to supplement the incomes of subsistence farmers. This provides an important source of revenue for governments, however, little of the money from such projects tends to reach local communities, which often leads to ill feeling and attempts to continue mining clandestinely, which can result in tension or even clashes between mine operators and local populations.

 The approximate location of the 24 September Kouri Bougoudi mine collapse. Google Maps.

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