Kabul: At least 30 people were killed in a gold mine collapse in northeastern Afghanistan on Sunday. Meanwhile, seven others are said to be injured in the incident which was reported from Kohistan district of Badakhshan province.

Reports, quoting provincial governor’s spokesman Nik Mohammad Nazari, claim that the miners were not professionals. He added that the villagers had dug a 60-metre deep shaft in a river bed to search for gold. At the time when shaft collapsed, they were inside the mine.

Nazari also informed that this illegal business is being carried out by the villagers for decades.

“The people were using an excavator to dig a big hole in the river when it collapsed, trapping dozens of workers,” PTI quoted District Governor Mohammad Rustam Raghi as informing AFP.

The rescue teams have been rushed to the spot. Meanwhile, villagers had already begun the operation while removing bodies from the site.

Badakhshan is a remote, mountainous province in northeast Afghanistan bordering Tajikistan, China and Pakistan. The impoverished region is prone to landslides, particularly in the colder months when heavy snow blankets the province.

Illegal mining is common in resource-rich Afghanistan, with the Taliban relying on the sector for much of its revenue. But most of the country’s minerals remain untapped as the raging conflict and lack of regulation deter international miners from exploiting the huge reserves.

(Inputs from agencies)