Jan. 6 (UPI) -- At least 40 people died and another 10 were injured in a gold mine collapse Sunday in northern Afghanistan, authorities said.
The collapse occurred as miners searched for gold in the Kohestan district of Badakhshan province, Afghan parliament member Fawzia Koofi said in a statement obtained by CNN. TOLO News reported the incident occurred around 11 a.m.
All of the victims were mine workers, provincial official Nek Mohammad Nazari said.
Nazari said all of those hurt were in critical condition.
President Ashraf Ghani directed the relevant authorities to take preemptive measures to avoid such incidents in the future, according to a statement by the Presidential Palace.
Afghanistan has an estimated $3 trillion of untapped minerals, according to a joint study by the Pentagon and the United States Geological Survey. That includes copper, gold, iron and cobalt as well as vast amounts of lithium, a key component in batteries.
The reservoirs had largely been untapped. But with President Donald Trump pushing to extract the minerals, exploration is underway. In October, Turkish Afghan Mining Company announed it will invest $22 million in Badakhshan gold mine.