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Rescue efforts has continued in Burkina Faso as workers try to reach eight miners who have been trapped underground for more than two weeks.
The zinc mine at Perkoa flooded following heavy rain last month.
Six of the miners are from Burkina Faso and the other two are from Zambia and Tanzania.
Burkina Faso Prime Minister Albert Ouedraogo said that managers of the mine have been banned from leaving the country while investigations are under way into the cause of the accident.
“Precautionary measures have been taken to prevent the persons in charge of the mine from leaving the country and instructions have been given firmly to the Minister of Security for this,” a statement from the PM’s office said on Monday.
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During a visit to the site at the weekend, Ouedraogo blamed “irresponsibility” by those in charge at the mine. He alleged that several days before the accident “dynamite was used on the open-air [part of the] mine, which weakened the [underground] gallery and enabled the flooding”.
The Canadian mining company, Trevali, says it is working 24 hours a day to locate the missing miners.
It says that when the mine flooded, the eight workers were deeper underground than their colleagues – more than 500m from the surface.
Electricity and communication links are reportedly cut off.
Trevali said it was aware of the prime minister’s comments and was also investigating the cause of the accident, Reuters news agency reports.