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article imageDeath toll in Philippine landslide soars to 31, over 100 missing

By Leo Reyes     Jan 6, 2012 in Environment
The landslide that occurred in Compostela Valley mine site in Southern Philippines has claimed at least 31 lives, with dozens more missing as search and rescue operations continue
The deadly landslide happened early Thursday in Pantukan, Compostela Valley after days of continuous rain brought about by a weather disturbance.
A report by Inquirer Friday placed the death toll at 25 but the early evening edition of ABS-CBN News said casualties soared to 31as of Friday afternoon while more than 100 remain missing.
The devastating landslide occurred in the Compostela Valley mining community where deadly landslide are common due to unabated tunneling by small town miners who are dependent on gold mining in the area for their livelihood.
Continuous heavy rain normally triggers deadly mudslides in the area causing deaths to workers and temporary settlers near the mine sites.
Over a hundred people have died in the Compostela Valley mining sites since 2001. Due to rising casualties resulting from landslides during rainy days, Philippine authorities have declared the area as a geo-hazard site last October.
Despite government warnings, residents have continued their small mining operations as they earn more by selling gold to traders.
"Authorities of the village and the municipality have talked to the villagers. The problem is -- they can't leave because of their jobs, and their property in this location. They refuse to leave," village leader Celso Lariwan said.
According to the ABS-CBN TV News report, a gold miner can earn at least 2,000 pesos ($46.00) per day compared to the minimum daily wage of $6.50 in the provincial industrial/agricultural sector.
The gold mining area of Compostela Valley in the Philippines is said to be one of the world's largest undeveloped copper-gold deposits.
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