More than 60 were killed while digging gold in a mine in the Sudanese area of Darfur, the nation’s state-run television said Thursday.
The mine collapsed after workers ventured into an unsafe area, CNN said. Authorities have shut down the mine until further notice.
The mine collapsed days ago, but word only reached official state media outlets in Khartoum on Thursday, Reuters reported. Rescue efforts were not successful, and the death count is likely to rise.
The gold mine has been the subject of regional tribe fights since January. Two tribes in particular in the Jebel Amir area had engaged in violent clashes over mining rights that left several dead. Access was shut temporarily until tempers cooled, Reuters reported.
In recent weeks, an estimated half a million miners had rushed to the area, fueled by reports that gold was free-flowing from mines. Sudan has exported about $2.6 billion in gold in the past year, Reuters said.