22 FEBRUARY 2022
By Melody Chironda
Cape Town — State television is reporting that at least 60 people were killed and many more injured in an explosion at an informal gold mining site in Burkina Faso.
The Associated Press reports that authorities said that the explosion happened in the village of Gbomblora and was believed to be caused by chemicals used to treat gold that were stocked at the site.
AP reports that Burkina Faso is currently the fifth-largest gold producer, with gold being the country’s most important export. In 2019, the industry employed approximately 1.5 million people and generated about U.S.$2 billion in revenue.
Institute for Security Studies (ISS) research shows that gold is smuggled into neighbouring Togo, Benin, Niger, and Ghana through illicit trafficking routes.
Burkina Faso, one of the world’s least developed countries, is under attack from militant groups linked to Al-Qaeda. These militant groups seek control of mining sites as a means to fund their violent attacks.