| BEIJING, July 17
BEIJING, July 17 Embattled Chinese gold miner
Zijin ignored orders to repair a breach in a tailings reservoir
last year, according to a stock exchange filing on a toxic
wastewater discharge that polluted a river earlier in July.
Zijin Mining Group (2899.HK)(601899.SS) on Saturday issued
the results of an investigation into the July 3 leak, when the
lining of a tailings reservoir was breached after heavy rains.
Meanwhile, the Xinhua news agency said the company had
plugged a new leak at a different waste reservoir late on
Friday, citing a company statement. About 500 cubic metres of
waste were discharged, it said.
The July 3 discharge of more than 9,000 tonnes of wastewater
killed thousands of fish and polluted the Ting river in Fujian
province, on which 60,000 people depend for drinking water.
Zijin has been ordered to halt operations pending a thorough
check of all its facilities, according to the filing to the
Shanghai Stock Exchange on Saturday, which followed a press
conference by local officials late on Thursday. [ID:nTOE66E03D]
The company had not previously confirmed the order to stop
production, which was reported by a Chinese newspaper on Friday.
The local environmental bureau had ordered Zijin to repair
the reservoir after an earlier breach in September, 2009, but
the order had been ignored, according to the filing.
A damaged pollution monitor downstream from the Zijin mine
prevented authorities from learning about and taking prompt
action after the leak, the report said.
Tailings reservoirs are supposed to be lined so that water
seeping out of waste ore from a mine does not enter the local
water supply. The waste ore may contain heavy metals and toxic
Three government officials were sacked in the scandal
following the lead, including a deputy county head and two
environment officials, the China Daily said on Saturday.
Zijin had enjoyed a reputation as one of China's premier
mining firms, and has mining interests overseas.
But it has run into trouble with tailings dams before. Late
in 2006, a tailings dam breach at Zijin's Shuiyindong mine in
Guizhou province dumped cyanide-laced residue into a stream.
The local environmental bureau ordered an upgrade of
tailings dam linings across the province after that incident,
which forced the Shuiyindong mine to shut for four months.