Acidic spill halts mine production

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 16 July 2010

Zijin Mining Group was ordered to halt production after discharges from its copper mine polluted a river and reservoir in Fujian province, the China Business News reported on Friday.

Acidic copper water spilled into the Ting river affecting water supplies for some 60,000 people.

The leak of wastewater containing acidic copper from its Zijinshan Copper Mine spilled into the Ting river and killed or poisoned thousands of fish early this month, affecting water supplies for some 60,000 people.

The newspaper said environment ministry and provincial officials ordered the shutdown, adding that the company needed a major overhaul of its system to safeguard against spills. It did not say how long output would be halted.

Zijing executives were not immediately available for comment.

Trading in Zijin shares was suspended on Monday, and the Communist Party mouthpiece the People’s Daily on Thursday sharply criticized the company for initially keeping quiet about the spill, which began on July 3 and continued for nearly 24 hours.

Three executives at Zijing were detained by local public securities bureau earlier this week as a probe into the accident continues, the China Business News said.

China has been battling to control the damage to its environment caused by more than three decades of breakneck economic growth, from acid rain to desertification.

The China Daily on Thursday cited a survey in the booming southern province of Guangdong as saying 40 percent of its soil was contaminated by heavy metals, partly caused by the more than 3,000 mines operating there.

The government has also become increasingly worried about public anger at environmental problems, especially pollution.

By: Fang Yan and Jason Subler
Source: Reuters Africa

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