DAVAO CITY, Philippines – At least 20 people were trapped inside tunnels when a landslide reportedly occurred in a gold-rush area in the boundaries of Mati City and Tarragona in Davao Oriental late Thursday.
Authorities said the landslide occurred in Bangil Mining Corp. in Sitio Bangol in Tarragona, where some 7,000 small-scale miners are operating.
Herminia Miones, Don Salvador Mandaya tribal chieftain, said initial reports indicated that the landslide destroyed two bunkhouses owned by a certain Mancao.
Miones said the initial number of trapped miners was reported to be 20.
“But the latest count said there are at least 50,” Miones said.
She said several known mining personalities are said to operate in the gold rush site.
The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) yesterday said they are also verifying the report with no confirmation so far.
Miones said last Thursday’s landslide was the second that happened in a span of two months. She said that more than a month ago, four small-scale miners died when a mine tunnel caved in.
The gold rush site in Don Salvador Lopez has been controversial lately after the Mines and Geosciences Bureau issued a cease and desist order against all small-scale mining operations in the area.