More Than 60 Killed, Dozens Injured After Explosion Near Gold Mining Site in Burkina Faso

·2 min read
Explosion due to causes still unknown in a gold mine in Burkina Faso with 60 dead
Explosion due to causes still unknown in a gold mine in Burkina Faso with 60 dead

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Over 60 people were killed and dozens have been injured in an explosion near a gold mining site in southwest Burkina Faso.

Local authorities say the blast occurred on Monday near the village of Gbomblora, according to the Burkina Information Agency. The first explosion reportedly took place around 2 p.m., and was followed by several other blasts, as locals attempted to flee the area.

"I saw bodies everywhere. It was horrible," Sansan Kambou, a local forest ranger, told the Associated Press.

The Burkina Information Agency said the death toll has now reached 63, and those who were injured are being treated at the Regional Hospital Center in Gaoua. The gold mine has also been closed until further notice.

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Authorities believe the explosion was likely caused by chemicals used for treating the gold, ABC News reports. Though a cause has not been confirmed and an investigation is underway, the agency said local authorities have made an arrest. No further details about the suspect have been released.

Burkina Faso is home to several major international gold mines as well as hundreds of smaller gold mining sites — like Gbomblora — that are often run informally with neglect of regulations, AP reports.

"The limited regulation of the artisanal and small-scale mining sector contributes to increased risks that can be very dangerous, including the use of explosives which are often smuggled into the country and used illegally," Marcena Hunter, senior analyst at Global Initiative, a Swiss-based think tank, told the outlet.

Several other incidents have occurred in similar African countries where informal mines are run.

Last month, at least 13 people were killed in Ghana after a truck carrying explosives to a gold mine collided with a motorbike and caused an explosion.