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Zijin Mining says dam collapse led to four deaths

Publishing Date
27 Sep 2010 11:43am GMT
Mining Journal

Zijin Mining Group Co said four people died after a tailings dam collapsed, adding to safety concerns at China’s biggest gold producer two months after another accident poisoned almost 2,000t of fish.

The dam at Zijin Mining’s Xinyi Yinyan tin mine broke on Sep 21 after a landslide triggered by heavy rains from Typhoon Fanapi, the Fujian-based company said in a statement yesterday. The Guangdong provincial government is investigating, it said.

The incident comes after Zijin Mining pledged to improve its management and invest more on safety measures after toxic waste from a copper mine leaked into the Ting River in Fujian province, leading to investigations by the securities regulator and the police. A safety permit was obtained from the Guangdong province for its tin tailing pool, the company said yesterday.

“We lack the official investigation results to know what happened,” Heng Kun, a Shanghai-based analyst at Essence Securities Co, said by phone. “This time it may just be an accident caused by the landslide. The July toxic spill was not purely an accident.”

The break in the tin mine dam “resulted in damages to some houses, farmland and water facilities downstream and caused casualties,” Zijin said in the statement. Four deaths were reported in Dadong village located downstream, according to the local government, it said.

The tin mine was in trial production, and the latest accident would lead to a loss of Yu19 million (US$2.8 million), the company said.

More than 100t of fish were found dead at farms in China’s Hunaghua river basin downstream from the dam, according to China Daily. Zheng Yuqiang, company secretary, said he wasn’t aware of the death of the fish.

Zijin was forced to shut its copper plant at the Zijinshan mine in Fujian after its July spill, the worst accident in the Chinese gold-mining industry since July 2008, when runoff from a Zhongjin Gold Corp site in Dandong poisoned the water supply.

Police detained some of Zijin’s managers, and the China Securities Regulatory Commission was investigating a possible breach of information disclosure rules related to the July spill.

Sep 27 (Bloomberg)

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