Five rescued in Tanzania after 41 days trapped in gold mine

Five people were rescued after spending 41 days trapped by a landslide in a small-scale gold mine in northwest Tanzania and one body was recovered, the mining ministry said on Tuesday.

The incident occurred at Kahama district, Shinyanga region, near the licensed Bulyanhulu and Buzwagi gold mines, which are owned by Acacia Mining Ltd, formerly African Barrick Gold Plc.

“Five out of six miners who were trapped in the landslide … were rescued alive,” Badra Masoud, spokesperson of the energy and minerals ministry said in a statement.

“The miners were trapped since October 5 … Rescue operations succeeded in freeing them from the collapsed mine some 100 metres underground on November 15.”

The miners survived by eating roots. “The miners used their helmets to collect water that was seeping through the landslide,” the ministry said.

Unsafe and unregulated illegal mining is widespread in Tanzania, which is Africa’s fourth-largest gold producer after South Africa, Ghana and Mali.

An illegal gold mine collapsed in the same district in April killing 19 people.