More than 60 people feared buried in landslide at illegal goldmine in Sulawesi

JAKARTA – More than 60 people are feared buried in a landslide at an illegal gold mine in Kabupaten Bolaang Mongondow, North Sulawesi, in Indonesia.

The incident occurred about 9 pm yesterday at the illegal gold mining site, located in a  forest area about two-hours walk from Desa Bakan Kecamatan Lolayan.

 According to Indonesia’s National Agency for Disaster Management (BNPB), as at 5 am today, 13 people have been rescued, a man died and  more than 60 people are believed still under the rubble.

“It is believed more than 60 people are still buried in holes which they had dug, which are between five and 24 metre deep,” said BNPB  data information and public relations head Sutopo Purwo Nugroho in a statement here.

He said local authorities had mounted a search and rescue operation for the victims.

Kabupaten Bolaang Mongondow is among districts in North  Sulawesi rich in mineral resources such as gold, iron ore, copper and sulphur.

According to local media reports, the authorities have closed the area, but local residents continue to trespass into the area to carry out gold mining activities.