Illegal gold mine collapse kills 18 in Indonesia

Illegal gold mine collapse kills 18 in Indonesia
An aerial view shows the site of the Grasberg Mine, which is operated by the U.S.-based Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold, in Indonesia's Papua province, where four workers were killed in an accident on Sept 27.

JAKARTA - Eighteen people were killed after an illegal gold mine collapsed in remote central Indonesia, a search and rescue official said Sunday.

The collapse occurred before noon Saturday in west Borneo, in a hilly area where illegal gold mining is rampant, the official said.

"We conducted a search operation last night, but we have stopped the operation now as we have found all of the bodies reported to be missing," local rescue official Leonardus Sabar Umbara told AFP.

Sixteen victims were male, including a 17-year-old, while two others were female, Umbara added.

Illegal gold mining has boomed in Indonesia in recent years as the price of the precious metal has surged, and deaths are common.

In July, a landslide killed nine men at an illegal gold mine in remote Papua province.

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