At least 22 artisanal gold miners died in southern Mali on Saturday after the shaft they were working in collapsed, the general secretary of the miners’ confederation told Reuters on Thursday, Report informs.

The miners had entered the site in the commune of Kalana illicitly and dug tunnels which later collapsed, the confederation’s Taoule Camara said.

The accident follows the death of over 70 people in similar circumstances at an artisanal mine in southwest Mali in January.

Artisanal mining is a common activity across much of West Africa and has increased in recent years due to growing demand for metals and rising prices.