September 14, 2008 / 2:04 AM / 11 years ago

Death toll from China mine mudslide climbs to 254

Residents stand at the site of a village buried by a rain-triggered mudslide in Xiangfen county, Shanxi province September 13, 2008. The death toll from a mudslide that resulted from a collapsed mine waste reservoir earlier this week in northern China has climbed to 178, state media said on Friday. REUTERS/Aly Song (

BEIJING (Reuters) - The death toll from a mudslide caused by the collapse of a mine waste reservoir in northern China has climbed to 254, state media said on Sunday.

It could take several more days to dig out areas where villagers believe more bodies are buried, Xinhua said.

Heavy rain triggered the disintegration last week of a tailings pond at the Tashan iron mine in Xiangfen county, Shanxi province after it had been overfilled with waste ore, state media quoted an initial investigation as saying.

The final death toll from the wall of mud that roared through a market and submerged some buildings to their roofs is expected to climb as more bodies are discovered.

Many of the victims were apparently migrant workers from southwest China, making it harder to pin down the number of dead and missing because they have no family in the area.

China’s mines are the world’s most dangerous, killing nearly 3,800 people last year, as high demand for raw materials from a booming economy pushes managers to cut corners.

Most victims are coal miners. Strong iron ore demand has encouraged miners to dig up even low-grade ore, often with little regard for safety or the environment.

Reporting by Lucy Hornby; Editing by Kim Coghill

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