One Dead, One Injured in Gold Mine Collapse

One man died and another was severely injured in Mondolkiri prov­ince on Wednesday when the tunnel of a gold mine they were excavating collapsed, officials said.

Lim San, 21, died instantly and En Nay, 20, suffered serious internal injuries when the under-construction tunnel collapsed upon the pair in Keo Seima district’s Chung Phlas commune, according to com­mune police chief Lay Vibol.

“The hole collapsed at 7:15 a.m. and a big rock weighing about 60 kg dropped from above,” he said, adding that Mr. Nay was brought to the district referral hospital.

Provincial mines and energy de­partment director San Darith said the tunnel collapsed because the pair had not sufficiently stabilized the hole from the inside. “The two workers did not build wooden supports to hold up the roof while digging the mine,” he said.

Mr. Darith said the half-hectare mine belonged to Heng Sambath, a local businessman with a license to explore for gold. The two victims had come from Tbong Khmum province’s Memot district to work for Mr. Sambath, he said.

“The company is responsible for the death and the injured person. I have received information that the families of the dead man and the in­jured person have already received compensation from the company,” he said, adding that he did not know the amount.

More than 40 companies hold licenses for small-scale mining operations in Mondolkiri, he said.

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