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Three dead, 40 missing in landslide

A landslide has torn through a remote mining camp in the southern Philippines, killing three people and leaving dozens more missing as it buried shanties, tents and the entrances to illegal mine shafts.

Soldiers, police and miners were able to rescue 11 people covered when the hillside outside Pantukan town in Compostela Valley province broke away before dawn, but the remote location and other landslides blocking the lone road in were hampering efforts to bring in bulldozers and other rescue equipment.

Army Colonel Roberto Domines said dozens of soldiers, police and militiamen have arrived on foot and by helicopter to help in the search and rescue.

The missing were mostly illegal gold miners and their families who build bunkhouses and shanties near where they eke out a living by digging in narrow, dangerous shafts, where accidents are common, Pantukan Mayor Celso Sarenas said.

He added the miners have long been warned to stay away from the landslide-prone area.

"We have warned them repeatedly of the danger there, but they wouldn't listen," Mr Sarenas said from Pantukan, about 580 miles south-east of Manila.

It was difficult to verify the number of people missing because the area is inhabited by transients from outlying villages and towns who have temporarily camped out there while searching for gold. Residents estimated more than 40 people were missing.

The dead included a 16-year-old miner, Mr Sarenas said.

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