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Hundreds missing in landslide at Philippines gold mine

At least 25 people were killed and another 100 were missing in the southern Philippines after a landslide struck a community of gold prospectors, officials said.

The landslip struck a remote mountain community near Pantukan town on Mindanao island in thePhilippines, and an army unit was digging out buried houses and bodies using shovels and other hand tools, civil defence chief Benito Ramos told AFP.

Pantukan and nearby Monkayo town have drawn thousands of gold prospectors for years, and the largely unregulated mining activities have triggered a series of deadly accidents.

"These are small-scale miners who tunnel into the side of the mountains like rats," Mr Ramos said.

Sixteen bodies were pulled from the debris within the first five hours, but community leaders told rescuers about 100 others remained missing, regional police spokesman Senior Inspector Gretchin Cinco told reporters.

Mr Ramos said the number of missing was an estimate based on figures from village officials.

Arturo Uy, the governor of Compostela Valley province that includes Pantukan, estimated that the population of the stricken village was between 700 and 800 transient residents.

Miners had been warned previously of the danger of landslides after one struck a nearby community of gold prospectors in 2009, he added.

"We had already ordered them out of the area in April and many did leave," Uy told GMA television in a telephone interview.