36 punished over fatal dam breach in S. China

08:25, December 22, 2010      

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Thirty-six people had been punished following a dam overflow that left 22 people dead and 523 houses destroyed in September when a typhoon hit southern China' s Guangdong Province, provincial authorities said Tuesday.

Xinyi Zijin Mining, a branch of China's largest gold miner, Zijin Mining, owner of the breached dam, holds direct liability for the accident, a provincial government statement said.

The dam in Guangdong's Xinyi City held the tailings of a tin mine. Its contents overflowed on the morning of Sept. 21, as rainstorms associated with typhoon Fanapi pounded the area. Grayish mud and rocks from the dam flattened part of a village.

The reason for the dam breach was the non-standard construction of the dam' s catchpit, thus lowering the dam' s flood control standard, according to the statement.

Thirty-six people, including the director of Xinyi City' s work safety bureau, the director of Xinyi City' s land and resources bureau, and the general manager of Xinyi Zijin Mining, were believed to be responsible for the accident due to their dereliction of duty, said Zeng Qingrong, deputy director of the inspection office of the provincial government.

Fifteen people among the 36 were transferred to the judiciary for further possible penalties, Zeng said.

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