Gold mine owner detained for cover-up of fatal accident

10:13, March 20, 2011      

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The owner of a suspended gold pit has been detained for allegedly covering up an accident that left nine people dead earlier this month in northwest China's Shaanxi Province.

A number of other directors of the gold mine of Xiangshun Mining Co. Ltd. in Tongguan County, Weinan City, have also been detained and placed under investigation, the county's publicity officials told Xinhua.

Local authorities would not disclose the detainees' identities until more evidences are obtained.

An initial investigation showed the accident took place on March 11 when two people allegedly sneaked into a non-operating gold pit to dig ores but became suffocated, while seven other folks who allegedly went down the pit to save the first two people also succumbed to suffocation.

The pit had been sealed up for business restructuring under a government plan, according to Tongguan's work safety supervision administration.

The fatal accident had been kept a secret until March 16, when the Tongguan County Government was alerted by a phone call, urging the government to carry out a further investigation.

The public security bureau of Weinan City and the city's work safety regulator have launched an investigation into the case, according to Tongguan County publicity officials..

The county government has also stepped up supervision and administration for mineral resources across the county to prevent more illegal ore digging activities.

The county, with a population of 160,000, is rich in gold, silver and other mineral resources.

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