A potentially illegal gold mine collapsed in Indonesia's West Kalimantan province, killing at least 18 people. Locals in the area cannot securely estimate how many people were trapped underground and reportedly up to 500 workers were on the site on Saturday, the day of the collapse.
The collapse of the gold mine occurred this past Saturday morning, but was noticed several hours later. Rescue crews arrived on the spot with a significant delay, due to the remote location of the mine. Leonardus Sabar Umbara, officer in charge at the West Kalimantan rescue headquarters in Pontianak, stated that local people often hesitate to report incidents like this, as many of them are involved in illegal mining.
Mineral resources in Indonesia are often located in remote and protected forest areas, hence it is difficult for the government to control the many illegal and small-scale mines that are created. As a result, accidents like this are very frequent. In July, a landslide at a gold mine in the Papua province cost the lives of 9 workers. Even worse, in May 2013, 21 of the 38 mine workers were killed in a tunnel collapse at Big Gossan underground mine in Papua.