Africa

Hopes fade after Ghana gold mine collapse

Informal sector gold miners (BBC's Peter Lewenstein)
Image caption There are few safety measures in informal mines

Rescue workers say there is little chance of finding more survivors after a gold mine collapsed in Ghana, trapping dozens.

Exact numbers are unclear, as the miners were not allowed in the pit in Dunkwa-on-Offin, central Ghana.

At least 15 people have survived but there are fears that about 100 people could have been buried when the pit collapsed.

Last year, the death of 15 miners was said to be Ghana's worst such disaster.

While some estimates put the number of missing at 110, others say the real figure is much lower.

Some survivors may not have made themselves known to the authorities.

The rescue operation has been hampered by flooding. Water pumps are being used, while divers are looking for bodies and survivors.

"At this stage I don't think we can get any survivors, those who are already trapped, I believe they may be dead now," local police commander Supt SK Buabeng was quoted as saying by the Joy Online website.

"We are trying our best to get the bodies recovered."

Ghana, previously known as the Gold Coast, remains one of Africa's biggest producers of the precious metal.

Multi-nationals operate in the country but villagers often dig their own pits or hope to strike it rich in abandoned mines.

In such cases, there are few, if any, safety precautions.

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