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Security Regulator probes Zijin

July 16, 2010

“Zijin Mining Group Co., China’s biggest gold producer by capacity, said that China’s securities regulator is looking into the company’s disclosure that one of its copper plants in eastern China is leaking acidic waste water.”

“Zijin Mining Group Co., China’s biggest gold producer, Zijin Mining, confirmed Friday that three executives at one of the company’s copper plants have been detained in connection with their investigation into a leak of contaminated water.

Zijin Mining board secretary Zheng Yuqiang told Dow Jones Newswires the head and deputy head of the plant, in Shanghang County, Fujian province, are among the detained. The company said Monday the plant was leaking acidic waste water, and operations there had been suspended.

Heavy rainfall caused a rapid rise in the underground water level and damaged the waterproofing layer at the bottom of the plant’s waste-water pond, leading to a leakage of acidic copper and sulfate and killing tons of fish in the nearby Ting River, Zijin said Monday.”

Source: Wall Street Journal, July 16, 2010

Observations:

  • The waterproof layer under the Zijin plant has been damaged by rising groundwater levels. Leakage of acid waste is reported to have reached Ting river. Operations in the plant have been suspended.
  • Zijin recently ended an acquisition offer for a copper-gold mining operation in the Philipines that was delayed because of environmental concerns.

Implications:

  • Depending on the amount of acidic waste leaking into the river the spill could have significant environmental impact. The coastal area in South-East China is heavily populated.
  • Extreme weather conditions caused by climate change might change conditions near many mine sites more than expected to be realistic when the sites were build. This could lead to more dangerous mining situations in the areas that are most affected by changing climate conditions.

©2010 – thebusinessofmining.com

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  1. July 16, 2010 at 9:40 am
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