CONAKRY, Guinea—Residents in a mining town in northern Guinea say at least a dozen people are dead after a landslide in the area where they were searching for gold.

Mamadou Diallo, who lives in the town of Siguiri, said Wednesday that eight others were feared dead and five people had been taken to the hospital with injuries.

A rescue operation was underway to try and find the eight who remained missing after the collapse early Wednesday but authorities said the hope of finding more survivors was slim.

Siguiri is located 435 miles (700 kilometers) north of the capital in this mineral-rich West African country.

Expert Mandjan Sano said that most of those searching for gold in the area are artisanal miners who often use outdated techniques that can cause fatal landslides.