An explosion struck a mining site in Burkina Faso, known for its rapidly growing gold mining industry
A powerful explosion near a gold mining site in Burkina Faso has killed at least 59 people, according to media reports citing witnesses and “regional authorities.” Over 100 people were reportedly injured in the blast.
The explosion occurred on Monday afternoon in the village of Gbomblora in southern Burkina Faso. The blast is believed to have been triggered by chemicals being used to treat gold at what reportedly was a makeshift mining site, though local officials have told state media the actual cause is not yet known, according to Reuters.
One witness, a forest ranger named Samson Kambou who was on site during the explosion, described seeing bodies “everywhere” following the blast.
“I saw bodies everywhere. It was horrible,” she told AP.
Images of the destruction at the site after the explosion have been posted to social media, showing leveled trees and equipment and bodies being covered with mats.
#Burkina l’explosion d’un site d’orpaillage à #Gbomblora, localité située au Sud Ouest du pays fait 59 morts et plusieurs dizaines de blessés grave. L’explosion serait due aux produits chimiques utilisés dans l’exploitation minière. pic.twitter.com/y2FMMt3sz2
— Fatou_FAYAMA_🇧🇫 (@fatou_fayama) February 21, 2022
Burkina Faso is home to numerous gold mining sites, some informal setups with minimal regulation, and is the fifth biggest producer of gold in Africa.