At least 27 miners in Afghanistan have been killed in a collapse in a coal mine, officials said on Sunday, in an accident likely to reinforce worries about a sector that many Afghans hope can underpin the country’s development.
The collapse occurred on Saturday evening in the northern province of Samangan, said provincial governor’s spokesman Sediq Azizi
“Rescue teams have recovered 27 dead miners and there are 22 more wounded,” Azizi said. District police chief Akram Behzad said all trapped miners had been rescued.
Afghanistan is estimated to be sitting on as much as $1 trillion in untapped mineral resources but decades of war and instability have kept most investors away.
The government says it expects to make as much as $4 billion a year in mining revenues in the decade from 2014, when most Western forces are due to leave, compared with less than $150 million from its resources sector last year.
Safety standards are also often lax in Afghanistan, with some mines employing children as young as 10 despite government regulations forbidding child labour, the government has said