Afghanistan: Dozens Die in a Gold Mine Collapse

In a tragic turn of events, at least 30 gold miners lost their lives in a terrible gold mine collapse in the north-eastern part of Afghanistan. In addition, 7 more people were injured in the tragedy which occurred early today in Kohistan district in the Badakhshan province of the war-torn country.

The people of the village had actually dug a 200 feet shaft in the bed of the river in search for gold and the walls moved in when most of them were inside. Although the reason behind the collapse is not clear the spokesperson for the governor of the province, Nik Mohammad Nazari has stated that the villagers were not professional miners although they had been in the same profession since decades without any provincial control over the same. The government did send a rescue team at the site but the bodies have been dug out by the villagers themselves.

Illegal mining is rampant in Afghanistan as the country is rich in resources and is largely untapped primarily because of the insurgency by the Taliban and the on-going conflict. It is due to latter, many international miners don’t venture in the region. Additionally, the region is struck with intense poverty and landslides are also common.

Many experts and reports have suggested that the mining is the primary source of income for the Taliban in the region who have made millions of dollars from abusive mining of talc which is mainly exported to the US and Europe. Talc is a chief constituent of the cosmetic industry in addition to its use in paper and plastic industries. Satellite imagery has also confirmed reports of extensive and illegal mining in the border province of Khorasan. It is learned that the mined talc is taken to Pakistan and mixed with locally mined talc which is later exported to the West. Talc forms nearly 60 per cent of exports from Pakistan.

The US has stated that Afghanistan is endowed with $1 trillion mineral deposits but has not been able to tap the same and generate enough revenue out of it. A host of factors like insurgency, weak government, less infrastructure, and added insecurity has damped all the efforts to develop the mining industry which only contributes meagrely to the national budget of the country.

The province where the tragedy happened is a remote place with mountainous terrain.


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