This detailed astronaut photograph released by the NASA Earth Observatory on April 12, 2010, shows the heavily gouged northern end of Semirara Island, Antique.

MANILA – Three people were killed and six others were still unaccounted for when an open pit coal mine in the central Philippines collapsed on Friday due to heavy monsoon rain, a local government official said.

“There was a sudden incident at 3:45 this morning wherein workers from Semirara Coal Corp. were buried in a landslide that happened there and nine were initially missing”.

Mining operations were suspended following the incident and an investigation has been launched.

In 2013, a landslide in the Panian mine also killed some mining workers.

Antique provincial Gov. Rhodora Cadiao said she ordered the operator to stop work at the open Panian pit on Semirara Island until the missing workers have been found.

There’s no report of survivors yet but it is estimated that around 50 people are working in the coal mine for the night shift.

“The victims were brought to the Semirara hospital on plastic bags and family members of the victims were called to identify them”, he said, adding that the mine’s management has barred civilians from approaching the site.

Coal makes up for about a third of energy supply in the Philippines.

According to the Philippines Department of Energy, following the collapse of the mine owned by Semirara Mining, search-and-rescue operations are going on to find the missing people. The company may issue a statement later.