24 February 2023
The 22 February 2023 landslide at a coal mine at Alxa League, China
On 22 February 2023 a large landslide occurred at an open cast coal mine in Alxa League in Inner Mongolia, China. It appears that this landslide has killed 53 people, the remains of six of whom have been recovered to date. A further six people were rescued. Of course these numbers need to be treated with skepticism.
The landslide appears to have occurred in a sequence of two events. The first, smaller, failure occurred at 13:00, followed by a second, larger, landslide at 18:44. The failure is remarkable for a series of videos that have emerged.
The set of videos, which are validated, are extraordinary. This is likely to be the main collapse:-
There is an interesting article, in Mandarin, about the landslide on the coal.in-en website. It describes the scale of the failure:-
The accident took place in the west mining area of Xinjing Coal Mine. According to CCTV news reports, the mountain on the northern slope of the west mining area collapsed as a whole. The clear vertical height of the mountain is 180 meters. After the landslide, a mound of muck with an east-west direction of 500 meters, a north-south direction of 200 meters and a net height of about 80 meters was formed.
The article indicates that the mine has suffered two previous fatal landslides, in 2015 and 2016. The volume of this failure is estimated to be about 3.5 million cubic metres. Recovering the victims from the toe of such a large failure is going to be enormously difficult,
The location of the landslide is [37,979, 105.645]. It is clearly visible on Planet Labs imagery, although the resolution is too low to be able to discern much detail.
There is of course the customary call for improvements in safety standards in Chine mines in the aftermath of the landslide. This is a regular occurrence in China, but little seems to change.