File photo: Ernesto Benavides.

Bamako - At least 16 people were killed following the collapse of a shaft in an artisanal gold mine some 130 kilometres south of Mali's capital Bamako, the West African state's mines ministry said late on Tuesday.

Ten of those killed were miners from neighbouring Guinea, while the other six were Malian citizens, the ministry said. Eight other people were injured in the accident that occurred on Saturday Sept. 13.

The government did not provide further details.

Artisanal mining is on the rise in Mali as neighbours such Ghana, Senegal and Burkina Faso have imposed limitations on the activity in their respective countries, pushing more mine workers into Mali.

Gold production in Mali, Africa's third biggest gold producer after South Africa and Ghana, hit 67.4 tonnes in 2013 due to growth in artisanal mining.

The government has, however, tried to control artisanal mining by imposing a ban on activities during the rainy season which runs from June to October, when accidents are frequent because the soil is wet and loose.

Reuters