Accra. At least 16 people have been killed when a disused gold mine collapsed in central Ghana, local authorities say.
The ground caved in at an abandoned pit near the town of Kyekyewere that was said to be popular with illegal miners.
Rescuers removed 16 bodies after the collapse on Monday, police said. It was unclear how many people had been at the mine, but officials said they did not believe anyone else remained trapped.
Ghana is one of the world’s major gold producers. The country used to be known as the Gold Coast.
Local official Peter Owusu-Ashia told Reuters that another injured miner later died in hospital. This would take the death toll to 17.
Illegal mining is a major concern in Ghana’s mining areas where operators use sophisticated equipment to process the ore.
“It is an abandoned pit that has attracted a lot of illegal miners,” said Owusu-Ashia.
He added that intense efforts had failed to discourage such activities.
More than 120 Chinese nationals were arrested in Ghana as part of a renewed clampdown against illegal mining in March.
At least 100 people were feared dead after an illegal gold mine collapsed following heavy rain in 2010.