Fourteen dead after Indian coal mine collapses

Fourteen people are dead and at least five injured as a result of a coal mine collapse in India on Saturday, a figured that increased from 8 on Sunday after four more bodies were extricated from under the debris.

The accident, the country’s Outlook India reports, occurred at the Mahanadi Coalfields but the miners were part of an illegal operation to steal coal from the site. Heavy rain most likely caused the collapse.

“We have repeatedly been warning them not to do so because it is dangerous,” a company spokesman told Khaleej Times. “Despite that people were collecting coal shells.”

Illegal mining has become endemic in the country as many unemployed people become professional coal scavengers. But coal is not the only sought-after commodity: Illegal sand mining has also become rampant – a phenomenon which some are calling India’s “gold rush.”

Last year the Goa state government reportedly lost $6.3 billion as result of illegal mining – a figure which sparked a state-wide mining ban.

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