AUTHOR: Elizabeth Loluae | PUBLISHED: June 2, 2023
Gold miners at a site in Kapoeta | Credit | Courtesy
One woman died and another sustained minor injuries when a mine collapsed on them in Kapoeta South County, Eastern Equatoria State, on Thursday, an eyewitness has said.
Jerimakori Napyem told Singaita FM that Namuria, 28; and Nakai Longolol, 24, had entered the deep end, adjacent to a river when it collapsed.
“This woman got gold nuggets but she returned to get more despite being warned by their fellow artisanal miners,” Napyem recalled.
“The hole collapsed on the blood sisters. When people tried to rescue them, Namuria was found dead; and the sister, still alive.”
He added that the incident took place at Napetait Boma, around 4:00 PM.
Namuria leaves behind three little children and their father.
Experts say South Sudan has the most important and best-known sites for artisanal and small-scale gold mining found mainly in Kapoeta area, Budi County, and Luri river basin of Centreal and Eastern Equatoria states.
Locals primarily use traditional mining techniques, panning for gold from seasonal streams in various villages.
Some estimates put the number of miners at 60,000 working at 80 different locations in the area, including Nanaknak, Lauro (Didinga Hills), Napotpot, and Namurnyang. The work provides miners’ families resources to support their basic needs.
According to a report by the Enough project in 2020, the gold mining sector in Kapoeta area has been criminalized. It noted that despite its legal framework, South Sudan’s gold sector remains ungoverned and poorly regulated.