April 22, 2011 / 8:25 AM / 8 years ago

Landslide in Philippine mining area kills 27

Philippine soldiers push a stretcher carrying a survivor of a landslide in a mining area in Kingking village of Pantukan town in Compostela province, southern Philippines April 22, 2011. REUTERS/Stringer

MANILA (Reuters) - A landslide caused by heavy rains buried shanty houses in a mining area on a southern Philippine island, killing at least 27 and leaving dozens of people missing, local disaster and security forces officials said Friday.

The landslide hit before dawn in Kingking village on the southern island of Mindanao, burying people under mud, rocks and rubble, said Liza Mazo, head of the regional disaster agency.

Six people were taken to hospital with minor injuries and rescuers were searching for others who may have been buried near an illegal small-scale mining area in the Compostela Valley.

Shanty towns have mushroomed around Kingking after a gold rush in the area nearly 20 years ago. Many of the mining operations are illegal and unregulated, and there are frequent accidents.

Two years ago, a similar landslide in another part of the village killed more than 20 people, including some children. Residents had been ordered to relocate due to the instability of the land and higher risks of landslides.

The government’s mines bureau has listed copper-gold and gold mining operations in Kingking as one of its priority investment projects. The Kingking area is said to be one of the world’s largest undeveloped copper-gold deposits.

The Philippines sits on an estimated $1 trillion (605 billion pounds) untapped mineral deposits, but has only targeted to attract $1 billion in mining investment this year.

Reporting by Manuel Mogato; Editing by John Mair and Yoko Nishikawa

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