February 23, 2022

Burkina Faso: Gold Mine Explodes, 60 Dead

At least 60 people have died and dozens injured following an explosion at an informal gold mine in rural southwestern Burkina Faso.

The town of Gbomblora in the Poni Province was rocked by a blast – caused by a stray spark that lit the nearby stored dynamite – at 2PM on Monday, 21 February, according to local authorities.

Other sources claim that further detonations were caused by chemicals – used to treat the gold ores – that were being improperly stored on-site.

Forest ranger, Sansan Kambou, witnessed the explosion, and described the aftermath as “horrible” with “bodies everywhere”.

The injured were taken to the Regional Hospital Center in nearby Gaoua, while the mine was shut down for an investigation; so far, the cause of the explosion has not yet been confirmed, but a suspect has been arrested.

Gold-mining has been a major source of income for the west African country since 2009, with many small-scale, illegal sites operating across the region. Experts have stated that limited regulation and government oversight have done little to impact the risks associated with the dangerous informal sector of the mineral-extraction industry.