At least seven miners have been killed and 40 injured in a gold mine explosion in Ecuador, local officials said on Wednesday.
According to officials, at least 30 miners have been missing since the explosion occurred on Monday night in the Liga de Oro mining camp at Mchala in the country's southern province of Azuay.
The rescuers have found seven bodies at the explosion site. As there might be other miners still trapped, the death toll is likely to be higher, said an official in charge of the rescue work.
More than 1,000 sticks of dynamite exploded at the mining site, which affected a radius of 150 metres, destroying almost half of the mining camp buildings.
In a statement, Ecuador's Ministry of Oil and Mines said officials have closed the Liga de Oro mine for investigation.
The mine produced nearly 15,000 ounces of gold last year and generated around $11 million in revenue, the statement said.