At least three people have died, ad several more may be missing, following a landslide at a gold mine at Bouré Boukaria in the Kankan Region in the east of Guinea, West Africa, on Thursday 20 July 2017. The bodies of two women and a man were recovered after the incident, with three other people being treated for serious injuries. The incident happened following a week of heavy rains associated with the West African rainy season. Landslides are a common problem after severe weather, as excess pore water pressure can overcome cohesion in soil and sediments, allowing them to flow like liquids. Approximately 90% of all landslides are caused by heavy rainfall.
The approximate location of the 20 July 2017 Bouré Boukaria landslide. Google Maps.
The incident is understood to have happened within an area granted to a multinational mining company by the Guinean government, though the victims were reportedly local artisanal miners that had entered the site illegally rather than employees of the company. Guinea is one of Africa's poorest nations, and like may other countries has granted concessions to mining companies in areas where small-scale artisanal mining has traditionally helped to supplement the incomes of subsistence farmers. However little of the money from such projects tends to reach local communities, which often leads to ill feeling and attempts to continue mining clandestinely, often at night or under other unfavourable conditions, which can put the miners at greater risk.
West Africa has a distinct two season climatic cycle, with a cool dry season during the northern winter when prevalent winds blow from the Sahara to the northeast, and a warm rainy season during the northern summer when prevalent winds blow from the Atlantic Ocean to the southwest. These warm winds from the Atlantic are laden with moisture, which can be lost rapidly when the air encounters cooler conditions, such as when it is pushed up to higher altitudes by the mountains of the Futa Jallon in Guinea.
Rainfall and prevalent winds during the West African dry and rainy seasons. Encyclopedia Britanica.
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