13 December 2009

Poor mining management was the cause of the Sigou Village landslide in China

Posted by Dave Petley

Back in August I posted a couple of times on a fatal landslide in at Lifan (sometimes written Loufan) in Sigou County in Shanxi Province in China (the posts are here and here), which appeared to be a mining related flowslide that killed 45 people. Yesterday the People’s Daily website ran a story explaining the results of the enquiry into the landslide:

Illegal production and slack safety oversight were main causes for the landslide in north China which killed 45 in early August, investigation result showed Friday. Some 37 had been detained for investigation as they were allegedly responsible for the fatal landslide in Shanxi Province which left another one injured, and resulted in an economic losses of 30.8 million yuan (4.53 million U.S. dollars), according to a statement issued by the investigation team led by the State Council, or cabinet.

Thirteen people including Yan Quewa, head of a local iron mine where the tragedy happened, have been prosecuted, while 24 others have received administrative and Party disciplinary punishment. The local mine was imposed a fine of 5 million yuan. On Aug. 1, the landslide toppled a waste dump of the mine and buried Sigou Village of Loufan County in the suburbs of the provincial capital Taiyuan. The waste dump, within 200 meters from the village, belongs to Jianshan Iron Mine. It was operated by Taiyuan Iron and Steel (Group) Company Ltd.

Chinese law stipulates such dumps should be at least 500 meters away from residential areas and should have embankments or walls to contain dust or prevent landslides. The dump near Sigou, however, had none.”

The mining and quarrying industry in China has a dreadful safety record.