HANOI: Six people died when an illegal gold mine collapsed in central Vietnam, a government official said Friday, in the latest incident of its kind.
The accident in Quang Nam province occurred during heavy rains last Sunday,said local official Pham Thi Nhu, who added that authorities had only now learned of it because the mine is in a remote forest.
Quang Nam is known for illegal gold extraction.
Nhu said the victims were members of an ethnic minority, a segment of the population which the United Nations says is far more likely to live in poverty.
"Sometimes, there were 200-300 people working in the gold mine. When we sent teams to chase them, they ran away into the forest. Then when we went home, they returned to the gold mine immediately," Nhu said.
In early May local media reported that five people died when another illegal gold mine collapsed in Nghe An province of north-central Vietnam.
Deadly accidents are not uncommon at illegal or private mines in the communist country, where labour and safety regulations are often disregarded.
Copyright APP (Associated Press of Pakistan), 2011
Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2011