Landslide Buries Workers’ Camp in Tibet

Early in the morning of March 29, 2013, a major landslide engulfed a worker’s camp of China Gold International’s Jiama copper-gold mine 68 km northeast of Lhasa, Tibet. A total of 83 workers were buried under the rubble, and 66 bodies were recovered within a week of the disaster. No survivors were found. The mineworkers buried in the landslide were employed by four external independent con-tractors engaged by Tibet Huatailong Mining Development Ltd., a wholly-owned sub-sidiary of China Gold International.

The workers were housed in tents in a camp located about 10 km from the Jiama mine site. The slide originated at the top of a valley above the camp. The crown of the slide was 5,359 m above sea level, and the toe was at 4,535 m, a drop of 824 m. Investigators attributed the slide to compli-cated local geological structures and melt-water seepage that weakened the geotech-nical competence of the mountain side.

The mine site was not impacted by the slide, and there was no evidence that min-ing operations had directly contributed to the initiation of the slide.

China Gold International is headquar-tered in Vancouver, British Columbia, and is listed on the Toronto and Hong Kong stock exchanges. State-owned China National Gold Group, China’s largest gold producer, is its largest shareholder, with an approximate interest of 39%. About 40% of the shares are publicly held.

The Jiama mine is a surface copper-molybdenum-gold-silver-lead-zinc mine with current processing capacity of about 6,000 mt/d. Commercial production be-gan in September 2010. A prefeasibility study completed in October 2012 propos-es an expansion to 40,000 mt/d, with ore drawn from both surface and underground mining operations.

As featured in Womp 2013 Vol 05 -