Rescue teams recovered the bodies of seven workers who died in a cave-in at an unlicensed open-pit gold mine in the southwestern Colombian province of Cauca, authorities said.

The province's emergency management director, German Callejas, provided the updated death toll to reporters.

The tragedy at the El Pital mine, located 45 minutes from the center of the town of Timbiqui, also left two people injured, Callejas said, adding that they were receiving treatment at area hospitals.

The accident occurred at around noon on Wednesday.

Timbiqui Mayor Jose Victor Amu Sinisterra initially said the cave-in left two dead and 17 missing.

He compared this latest mine collapse to the May 1 cave-in at a gold mine outside the town of Santander de Quilichao, also in Cauca province, that left 12 dead and two injured.

In that earlier incident, the recovery effort took six days and involved 150 emergency personnel.

"This was a foreseeable tragedy, but no one paid heed to our warnings," Amu said, referring to illegal mining activity in the region. EFE