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|Thursday, August 02, 2001, updated at 08:12(GMT+8)|
Tin Mine Accident in Guangxi Reported to Trap in 300Authorities in South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region Wednesday confirmed a reported water leak in a tin mine in Nandan County but refused to say how many people were trapped inside.
"We have already sent an investigating team to the site but so far I have not heard of any reported deaths,'' said an official with the autonomous region's work safety department who only identified himself as Zhou.
County authorities could not be reached for comment.
Two days ago, the Sichuan-based Tianfu Morning News reported that over 200 miners and technicians have been trapped in the Nandan mine, about 400 kilometres from Nanning, capital of the autonomous region. Major Chinese websites soon posted the news.
The newspaper also reported that the accident was caused as water stored in a nearby mine rushed into the mine where the victims were working.
Guangxi's work safety department said in a Tuesday report submitted to the national safety supervisor that "the media's report was not true and we need more time to investigate.''
The department said there were at least five different accounts of when the accident took place but the report didn't give an official time.
"As to how many victims are inside the mine, we are waiting for the final report from the work team, and only after the water inside the mine is pumped out can we count,'' Zhou said.
However, local sources say as many as 300 people could still be trapped in the mine.
"Local TV reported on Monday in a news flash that over 300 people were trapped in a mine of Nandan county because of a water leak,'' said a Nandan resident surnamed Lu.
Lu said the mine is owned by Longjing Chemical Industry Co, Ltd.
Zhou said the situation around the mines is "complicated and challenging'' because of local protectionism.
The mine should have been shut, since local sources with Nandan County said management of the mines was poor and mishaps have occurred before.
But county authorities have not taken the accidents seriously because the tin mines are the major contributors to local income.
Source: China Daily
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