Three people are said to have died in a gold mining well that collapsed on them in camp 15 of Budi County in Eastern Equatoria State.
According to the Kimotong Payam Executive Director, the incident happened on Saturday, June 11 at around 4PM. Arkanjelo Lokolimoi said five others were also injured. The victims are all men.
“When they got in – they didn’t know that this hole had a problem, they reached inside they found water, and they continued digging the soil so that they can go and sieve, but the soil fell on their bodies and it was heavy soil, it is a hole of like 5 meters,” Lokolimoi narrated to Singaita FM.
The survivors have been referred to Chukudum hospital for treatment.
Chuhudum hospital administrator told Singaita FM on Sunday evening that out of the five persons injured, three have serious wounds while two others sustained minor injuries.
“Nurses are helping them right now, we are taking them for x-ray then after x-ray those who sustained fractures and those who we can manage, we will manage and those we cannot manage, we will refer to Torit state hospital,” Augstine Lokang said.
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.
Lokolimoi pointed out that many local people in the areas are involved in risky gold mining to survive. He urged the local gold miners to take precautionary measures while at the mining sites.
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.