SULAWESI, Indonesia (KOLD News 13) - A terrible incident unfolding on Indonesia. According to authorities, a collapsed illegal gold mine buried dozens of people under rubble.
So far, the bodies of three female miners have been recovered and 15 others have been rescued from the debris.
Officials said Thursday about 23 people remain trapped under the mining pit located in the central Sulawesi region, after make-shift wooden structures inside the mine collapsed Wednesday due to unstable soil.
Informal mining operations are common in Indonesia, providing a tenuous livelihood to thousands who labor in high-risk conditions for serious injury or death.
Landslides, flooding and collapsed tunnels are just some of the heightened hazards in illegal mining; and much of the processing of gold ore involves use of highly toxic mercury and cyanide by workers using little or no protection.