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Police inspector Bertrand Riedewald said the accident occurred late Saturday when a mudslide eroded the open pit’s 20m walls and buried the illegal miners, who were mainly from the country’s Maroon indigenous community.
“Three miners were able to escape during the collapse, while two survivors (were) severely injured and were taken for medical treatment to the hospital,” Inspector Riedewald said.
The mine at Money Hill, some 150km southeast of the capital Paramaribo, belongs to the Surgold concession, a joint venture between US-based multinationals Alcoa and Newmont.
The seven bodies were recovered early today, after the removal of dirt and debris.
Lieutenant Colonel Jerry Slijngaard, head of the National Coordinating Centre for Disaster Management, told reporters that miners were likely using a water hose to blast away soil when the collapse began.