Gold mine collapse leaves 14 dead in Sudan

FILE - Gold mine workers climb out from a local mine in Sudan, July 30, 2013. Authorities reported a gold mine collapse March 31, 2023, near the Egyptian border that left 14 workers dead and many others injured.

At least 14 workers are dead after a gold mine collapsed in northern Sudan, mining authorities said Friday.

The fatal collapse happened after one of the hillsides that surround the Jebel Al-Ahmar gold mine — situated near the Egyptian border — gave way Thursday afternoon, the Sudanese Mineral Resources Company said in a short statement.

Some 20 other minors were injured in the collapse and transferred to a nearby hospital, it said.

According to a report published Thursday by Sudan's state-run news agency SUNA, a search operation was launched to find those trapped beneath the rubble.

Witnesses cited by SUNA said the workers were searching inside mining wells for gold using heavy machinery which caused the collapse.

A security source cited by the state agency said workers were thought to be trapped beneath the mine's groundwater.

It remains unclear if the rescue teams are still searching for survivors. The Sudanese Mineral Resources Company's spokesman in the area did not respond to The Associated Press's request for comment.

The dead have been transferred to the nearby town of Wadi Halfa and have since been buried, the state company said.

Sudan is a major gold producer with various mines scattered across the country. Collapses are common as safety standards and maintenance are poor.

In 2021, 31 people were killed after a defunct gold mine collapsed in West Kordofan province.