No fewer than 12 deaths have been recorded in a mine collapse at Muiane in Gilé District in Mozambique’s Zambézia Province.
Africa Review said on Sunday that the ill-fated tantalum mine had been taken over by local residents after being abandoned by the Canadian firm that co-owned it.
The number of people exploring tantalite in the mine has been growing drastically.
In the last few days, 12 people have died and scores seriously wounded as a result of the mine collapsing.
Zambézia Province Director of Natural Resources, Mr Almeida Manhiça, said cases of mines collapsing had become frequent in the past few days.
Tantalum is used in the electronics industry for capacitors and high power resistors.
It is also used to make alloys to increase strength, ductility and corrosion resistance.
The mineral is also used in dental and surgical instruments and implants.
The Mozambican government has been sensitising people against illegal mine operations to no avail.
Mozambique ranks among the world’s poorest states, with a majority of the population surviving on less than $1 a day.
The mineral industry plays a significant role in the Mozambique economy.
The country has enough gas to be the third-largest exporter of the product on the continent, according to the US-based Anadarko Petroleum Corporation.
Anadarko said it would make a final decision on whether to develop a natural gas project in Mozambique before year end.
The Texas-based Anadarko estimates it has 100 trillion cubic feet of gas in its concession off the north-eastern coast of Mozambique.