The governor of the state of Bolívar, Ángel Marcano, said this Thursday (22) that 16 people died and another 16 were injured by the collapse of a gold mine in La Paragua, in southeastern Venezuela. The Venezuelan government continues to search the site. On Wednesday, local authorities spoke of at least 25 deaths.

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In his statement, the governor said that there was “a considerable group” of people who “worked on their own initiative to support their families, even if they did not have authorization for this activity.” According to him, the fact that the mine is illegal prevents authorities from having a reference to how many people worked there.

The Bulla Loca gold mine collapsed on Tuesday in La Paragua, 750 km from the capital Caracas. According to the Venezuelan newspaper TalCualthe place began operating in mid-2023 illegally and was around 35 meters deep.

The landslide was recorded at 3pm (local time). The location is difficult to access and, therefore, rescue teams were able to remove only a few people from the region and are unable to determine the number of deaths and injuries.

President Nicolás Maduro deployed the Simón Bolívar Humanitarian Task Force to help with the search. The elite group has around 1,500 employees. The Chief Executive also expressed solidarity with the families of the deceased.

According to Maduro, the hole that opened in the mine is 30 meters deep and 100 meters long.

Residents of La Paragua gathered this Thursday to ask for the continuation of searches and speed in rescues. According to residents, there are more people missing than the 16 deaths indicated by the Bolívar state government.

This is the third incident involving Venezuelan mines in four months. In December 2023, an illegal mine in the San José de Wadamapana region gave way. In the incident, 12 people died and one was missing. A landslide on November 12 was reported at another Venezuelan mine, but there were no deaths.

According to AFPlast year the Armed Forces counted around 14 thousand illegal miners expelled from the Yapacana National Park, located in Amazonas.

*with information from AFP

Editing: Matheus Alves de Almeida


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