Three miners are still missing following the collapse of a gold mine shaft in Kratie province last Thursday, the latest in a recent spate of mine collapses in Cambodia.
The collapse was the third such incident in the country in the past two weeks and the second in Kratie.
Bun Chheum, Sambor district police chief, said the men were prospectors inspecting the mine. They had a tentative deal to mine the site in exchange for paying the owner, Da Lin, a 50 percent fee of their findings.
The three missing are Chin Theara, 25; Noun Chanra, 50; and Reach Sakea, 21.
Chheum said the 30-metre shaft likely collapsed into another nearby mine.
“The three asked to go down to check if there was gold . . . we don’t know whether they died or not because we could not find them,” Chheum said, adding that the families are assuming the worst and preparing funeral ceremonies.
“After the incident the owner hired people to dig out the bodies, but they could not find them . . .The mine owner is Da Lin and it is not registered . . . We haven’t arrested the owner yet.”
Sar Chamrong, the provincial governor, said local authorities and officials from the Ministry of Mines are doing their best to shut down dangerous, unregistered sites in the province.
“We are searching for more mines to close, in case they are unregistered,” Chamrong said, adding 11 mines had been recently closed.
“We have dug to 50 metres and still have not found their bodies. We asked the owner to give each family 5 million riel [$1,234],” he added.