27 September 2019

Tibesti – another mining-induced landslide

Posted by Dave Petley

Tibesti – another mining-induced landslide

Reuters reported yesterday that yet another major mining-induced landslide has occurred, this time in the Tibesti region of Chad:-

“A landslide at an illegal gold mine in Chad has killed about 30 people, a government minister said on Thursday.  The mine in the Tibesti region near the Libyan border collapsed early on Tuesday and more victims might still be buried in the rubble, defence minister Mahamat Sala told Reuters.”

AGP has a more detailed report, in French.  This is an edited Google Translate version of the key parts:-

“The accident occurred in the area of ​​Kouri Bougoudi, near the Libyan border, in the province of Tibesti, which subject to an ongoing emergency. “A mine has collapsed, I can not say exactly how many people are dead, but there are many people working in these mines, there must be a lot of dead, that’s for sure,” said the Chadian Minister of Defense and Security, Mahamat Abali Salah, by phone to AFP.

“An army officer who requested anonymity told AFP “about thirty dead”, but it is based on testimony collected from people on the spot, as the army is not permanently present in this remote area. A member of the region, also based on testimonies collected since N’Djamena, speaks of “a dozen deaths”.”

The area affected is effectively lawless, so the mines are unregulated and thus highly dangerous.  This image, from the AGP report, provides an insight into the level of risk associated with this type of mining:-

Tibesti mine landslide

Mine workings at Tibesti in Chad. Image via AGP.


This event continues the deadly toll from mining-induced landslides, which I have highlighted previously.  This graph below shows the total number of fatalities from such landslides in 2019 to date – I have recorded 677 deaths in 52 separate landslides so far.  This total will inevitably rise in the months ahead:-

Mininginduced landslide fatalities in 2019

The cumulative total number of mining-induced landslides in 2019 to date.


The worst event was the Córrego do Feijão tailings dam failure at Brumadinho in Brazil in January, but as the graph shows, there are many other events occurring around the world.