Artisanal mining is a common activity across much of West Africa and has risen in recent years due to growing demand for metals and rising prices.
Deadly accidents are frequent as artisanal miners often use old-fashioned and unregulated methods of digging.
The incident in Mali occurred on Friday on a site in the Kangaba Cercle in the south-western Koulikoro Region, the mines ministry said in a statement on Tuesday that did not specify the number of deaths.
A spokesperson for the ministry, Baye Coulibaly, said via telephone on Wednesday that the death toll was still provisional.
“Gold panners have dug galleries without complying with the required standards, and we have advised them against it on several occasions in vain,” Coulibaly said.
The ministry would be a sending a mission to the Kangaba area on Thursday to get more details on the accident, he added.
According to mines ministry data, an estimated six tons of gold was produced in artisanal mines in Mali in 2023.