Landslide kills 21 at copper mine in Tibet

April 1, 2013

A landslide at a copper mine owned by a unit of China National Gold Group in Tibet killed at least 21 people over the weekend, Bloomberg News reported.

As of Sunday, March 31 another 62 people were still missing according to reports from China National Radio.

The landslide struck a workers’ camp at the Jiama copper mine in Maizhokunggar county, about 68 km (42 miles) from the regional capital Lhasa, at about 6 a.m. on March 29, burying 83 workers, according to the official Xinhua News Agency. The State Administration of Work Safety has started an investigation into the cause of the landslide, Xinhua reported, citing its head Yang Dongliang.

The fatalities follow three deaths in January at a copper mine in the eastern province of Fujian owned by Zijin Mining Group Co., China’s third-biggest gold producer by output. China’s history of mining incidents includes the world’s worst safety record at its coal mines, which saw 1,973 people killed in accidents in 2011 and 2,433 the year before that, according to the State Administration of Work Safety.

China Gold International Resources Corp. (2099), a Hong Kong- traded unit of China National Gold, owns the Jiama mine.

Beijing-based China National Gold’s President Sun Zhaoxue held an emergency meeting at the mine site on March 30, the company said on its website. More than 3,000 soldiers and over 30 piece of construction machinery have been used to find the buried miners in the debris, Xinhua said.

Around 2 million cubic meters of rock and earth was set loose by the landslide, Xinhua said, citing Li Yuelin, a rescue expert from northwestern Gansu Province.

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