North Sulawesi gold mine landslide death toll rises to 16

JAKARTA – The death toll due to the landslide at an unlicensed gold mine in Indonesia’s North Sulawesi province on Feb 26, has risen to 16 today.

According to Indonesia’s National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB), the search and rescue operations to find the trapped miners would continue for the next three days.

BNPB head of data information and public relations centre Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said 34 miners had been rescued so far.

The wooden structure in the illegal gold mine in the Bolaang Mongondow district, which was reported to have been operational over the past two years, collapsed following a landslide which occurred at 9 pm on Feb 26, causing over 60 miners to be trapped or buried alive.

“To date, the actual number of victims still trapped remains unknown. The operation will continue for another three days,” he said in a statement here.

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, especially at night, to carry out gold mining activities.