Provincial governor spokesman Nik Mohammad Nazari said the collapse occurred in the Kohistan district on Sunday morning.
He added that the exact number of people caught in the collapse was unknown. While later reports emerged that at least 40 people were killed.
Nazari further said that the victims are villagers who used to be involved in this business for decades with no government control over them.
Meanwhile, local officials say that all routes to the district are blocked due to recent snowfalls, making the rescue operation unsuccessful.