China Gold Tibet Mine Rescue Suspended as Death Toll Rises to 36

Rescuers suspended work at the site of a landslide that buried 83 people at a copper mine in Tibet owned by China Gold International Resources Corp. on safety concerns, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

Thirty-six bodies have been recovered from the mine site after the landslide struck a workers’ camp at the Jiama copper mine in Maizhokunggar county, approximately 68 kilometers (42 miles) from the regional capital Lhasa, at about 6 a.m. on March 29, according to Xinhua. Rescue work was suspended yesterday after four fissures with lengths of more than 600 meters were found at the site, posing risks of a subsequent landslide, Xinhua reported.

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, a unit of state-owned China National Gold Group, owns the Jiama mine. Three calls to the mobile phone of Wu Zhanming, senior vice president of China Gold International, went unanswered yesterday.

China Gold International, based in Vancouver, fell 13 percent to close at C$3.33 yesterday in Toronto, the biggest drop since Dec. 16, 2011. Zhongjin Gold Co., China National Gold’s publicly traded unit in Shanghai, declined 2.5 percent to 13.86 yuan yesterday, the lowest level in almost a year.

China National Gold’s President Sun Zhaoxue held an emergency meeting at the mine site on March 30, the company said on its website on March 31. More than 4,500 rescuers and 200 pieces of construction machinery have been used to search for the buried miners in the debris, Xinhua said.

About 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.

— With assistance by Helen Yuan

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