BEIJING, Feb. 23 (AP) — The search for at least 50 missing people has been suspended after additional landslides hit the huge facility as the open-pit coal mine collapsed in northern China, state media reported Thursday.
At least two people were killed and six others were injured in Wednesday’s disaster in Alxa League in the vast region of Inner Mongolia. The number of missing persons is estimated to be between 50 and 53, and there is currently no information on their condition.
The official Xinhua News Agency reported that the landslide occurred at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, about five hours after one of the mine’s walls collapsed, burying workers and mining trucks in an estimated 10 million cubic meters (3.5 million tons) of sand and rock Down.
Some 900 rescuers with heavy equipment had arrived at the scene, including a team from the Ministry of Emergency Management who had been working on a rescue plan, state media reported.
As of early Thursday, work remained suspended due to safety concerns and it was unclear when it would resume, Xinhua said.
Chinese President Xi Jinping called for “all-out search and rescue” to “ensure the safety of people’s lives and property, and maintain overall social stability.”
Inner Mongolia Xinjing Coal, the company that operates the mine, was reportedly summoned and fined last year for multiple safety violations, including unsafe access to the mining ground and unsafe storage of volatile materials And the lack of training of safety supervisors, etc. Go to the news website The Paper.
Inner Mongolia is an important region for mining of coal, various minerals and rare earths, which critics say has destroyed pristine landscapes of mountains, grasslands and deserts.
China relies heavily on coal for power generation but has tried to reduce the number of fatal mining accidents by placing a greater emphasis on safety and closing small mines that lack the necessary equipment.
Most mining deaths are caused by explosions caused by methane and coal dust buildup, or by drownings caused by miners breaking into shafts abandoned by flooding.
China has been hit by a spate of deadly industrial and construction accidents in recent months due to poor safety training and oversight, corrupt officials and a propensity for companies to cut corners for profit. The economy has slowed, partly because of harsh lockdowns and quarantines imposed under the now-defunct “Zero COVID” policy. (Associated Press)
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