May 1, 2006

17 missing after toxic sludge buries village

BEIJING (Reuters) - Seventeen people are missing after a
landslide at a gold mine in northwest China engulfed their
homes, Xinhua news agency reported.

It said five villagers were in hospital after a cascade of
toxic gold tailings buried their homes following the collapse
of a dam wall at the mine in Shaanxi province on Sunday.

"The local government has taken emergency measures to
prevent the poisonous content in the tailings, including sodium
cyanide, from polluting the environment," Xinhua said.

Workers were raising the height of the dam to increase its
capacity when the accident took place.

Separately, the death toll from a coal mine blast on
Saturday, also in Shaanxi, has risen to 30, Xinhua said.
Another two miners were still missing.

China's mining industry is the world's deadliest. Official
figures showed that in 2005 some 3,300 coal mine blasts, floods
and other accidents killed nearly 6,000 people, while about
1,900 disasters at other types of mines claimed more than 2,300