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60 Killed in Congo Mine Shaft Collapse

Landslide causes accident amid illegal operation
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 16, 2012 9:59 AM CDT
60 Killed in Congo Mine Shaft Collapse
In this file photo, an unidentified miner sifts through sand and smashed rocks looking for gold at the town of Mongbwalu, Congo.   (AP Photo/Anjan Sundaram,File)

(Newser) – A mine shaft collapsed Monday in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo, killing at least 60 gold miners inside, officials tell Reuters today. "It was deep in the forest; there was a landslide," says a provincial mining official. The miners were working in an illegal operation, and at 327 feet underground, they were more than 200 feet below the legal limit for depth, says the country's mining minister. Rescue hopes are dim: The site is in rebel-held territory.

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"There's almost total insecurity," says the minister. "It's difficult for us (to reach)." Non-industrial mining, often run by armed groups, employs hundreds of thousands of eastern Congolese people; accidents happen frequently. (Read more miners stories.)

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