Rescue workers are searching for at least five miners buried on Indonesia's Sulawesi island, after an illegal gold mine collapsed on Wednesday killing at least three people.
A search-and-rescue effort has already retrieved at least three bodies and pulled 15 survivors from debris, officials said on Thursday.
The collapse of the mine came after a landslide in the village of Buranga after days of heavy rain.
Officials said makeshift wooden structures in the mine collapsed late Wednesday due to unstable soil, burying people in the mine pit.Teams comprised of police, military and the local disaster agency deployed heavy machinery to help the search.
Officials said unstable soil conditions that could lead to new landslides were hampering the search for five other people still missing, however local media reports suggested there could be more trapped.
Emergency personnel used two excavators and farm tools to search for the victims.
Informal mining operations are commonplace in Indonesia, providing a tenuous livelihood to thousands who labour in conditions with a high risk of serious injury or death.
Indonesia accounts for about 3 per cent of the world's gold production.
Most of that comes from the Grasberg mine in Papua province, said to be the world's largest gold mine, with $50.1 billion in reserves and up to 20,000 workers.
But small artisanal, often unauthorised mining is on the rise in many parts of Asia and Africa.
A study by a taskforce – the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development – found the number of people engaged in such mining had risen to over 40 million, up from 30 million in 2014 and 6 million in 1993. (Wires)