China / Society

Copper mine wastewater contaminates NW China river

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-04-24 20:04

XINING - A wastewater leak from a copper mine has contaminated a river and nearby grassland in northwest China's Qinghai Province, government authorities said on Thursday.

No human beings or livestock have been affected so far after 3,000 cubic meters of wastewater leaked out of the tailing pond of the Suolagou copper polymetallic mine at around 5:20 a.m. on Wednesday in Xinghai County in the Hainan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, said a spokesman with the county government.

Environmental inspectors of the county government received a report at 2:40 p.m. on Wednesday and rushed to the scene, finding a river stretching 3 km in length and 10 meters in width had already been contaminated along with bordering grassland.

The river is the drinking water source for seven villages, with a total population of over 1,600 people.

Suolagou is a mine of the state-owned Qinghai Qiyuan Mining Company, based in the provincial capital of Xining.

Local land resources and environmental protection authorities are diluting the polluted water, and the company has buried the affected grassland to avoid poisoning livestock.

Tests have showed the contaminated river water is within the drinking standard, said the spokesman.

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