The collapse of an artisan gold mine in northwest Tanzania on Friday killed at least 19 people and the death toll might rise, according to the local police.
Officers continue to search through rubble at the site, Justus Kumugisha, the area’s police commander, said by phone on Saturday.
“We are suspecting there may be more victims buried underground,” Kumugisha said from Shinyanga, about 600 miles (965 kilometers) northwest of the Tanzania’s largest city, Dar es Salaam.
U.K.-based Acacia Mining Plc’s large industrial gold mine at Bulyanhulu is located about 20 km from the site of the mine collapse, the company’s investor relations manager Giles Blackham said in an emailed response. “We have sent trained rescue people and equipment to assist the local authorities with the situation,” Blackham said.
Acacia is majority owned by Canada’s Barrick Gold Corp., the world’s largest gold producer.
Artisanal mining refers to activities carried out by workers not employed by a mining company, often using low technology methods or with minimal machinery.