At least five people died Monday in the collapse of an artisanal gold mine in the region of Maradi, in southern Niger, near Nigeria, a region where eighteen “miners” had already perished at the end of 2021, a indicated Tuesday the mayor of the affected municipality. “There were five dead in the collapse of one of the mines where all clandestine exploitation was banned in November after a fatal incident,” Adamou Guéraou, the mayor of Dan-Issa, a town where he was killed, told AFP. the tragedy took place.
18 deaths in November 2021
Discovered in August 2021, the Garin-Liman mines on the territory of his commune attract thousands of artisanal gold miners, including many Nigerians. In November 2021, after the death of 18 people in rockfalls from galleries, the Nigerien government banned all activity on the site, which has since been placed under the surveillance of the police. “Despite this closure and the security measures, gold miners have returned en masse to the site to dig, even at night,” lamented the mayor.
Niger, a poor Sahelian country, has had dozens of artisanal gold panning sites for around forty years, particularly in the Tillabéri region (west), now the scene of deadly jihadist attacks, and in the north near the Libya. Accidents on these sites are frequent, due to the instability of the soil and the archaic means used, according to the authorities. In anticipation of modern mining, in 2017 the government closed several artisanal gold sites in the south-west and in the desert north-east, housing tens of thousands of gold miners from several African countries. Niger has had only one industrial mine since 2004, at Samira, in the Tillabéri region.