7 die in western Colombia mining accident

(RTTNews) – At least seven people were killed and two others injured after a gold mine collapsed in a remote region in north-western Colombia, officials said Wednesday.

The accident happened early Wednesday at the Ulloa gold mine in the municipality of El Atrato in Choco province. The collapse is indicated to have been triggered by a landslide inside the mine.

The two miners rescued from the mine have been rushed to a nearby hospital for treatment. Local reports quoting medical officials said both the miners were in critical condition.

Authorities have launched an investigation to determine the cause of the accident and to find out whether the mine had the required permits.

The incident comes just a couple of months after five miners were killed in a similar accident at another gold mine in the south-western province of Cauca.

Such mine accidents are common in Colombia, one of world’s largest coal exporters with the second largest coal reserves in the South American continent. According to an estimate, mine accidents have claimed more than 200 lives in Colombia in recent years.

An explosion at the San Fernando mine in Amaga in the north-western Antioquia province had killed at least 73 people last year.

Prior to that accident, a methane gas explosion had killed nine workers at another mine in Antioquia province in August 2009, while a similar explosion left at least 30 people dead at a mine in north-eastern Colombia in February 2007.

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