Qinghai's 'invisible rich man' has made billions from illegal coal mining, investigation alleges

Source: Global Times Published: 2020/8/10 0:47:56

Aerial photo taken on Aug. 7, 2020 shows the Guide section in the upper stream of the Yellow River in Northwest China's Qinghai Province. Photo:Xinhua

A Qinghai mining company, led by the province's "invisible richest man" is being accused of  illegally earning billions from mining millions of tons of coal that have damaged water resources along the Yellow River. 

Two departmental-level officials have been fired and are being investigated for illegal mining in the Muli mining area in Qilian Mountain in Northwest China's Qinghai Province and the companies involved are suspected of violating laws and regulations, according to the preliminary findings released at a press conference on Sunday afternoon, State broadcaster CCTV reported.

Economic Information Daily reported on August 4 that Qinghai Xingqing Industry and Trade Engineering Group Company, carried out predatory mining in the hinterland at the foot of Qilian Mountain, earning tens of billions of yuan. Its coal mines severely damaged the Qinghai Lake and the Qilian Mountain water conservation area, which are upper sources of the Yellow River.

For the past 14 years, the company is accused of illegally mining more than 26 million tons of coal from the Muli mining area, making profits of more than 10 billion yuan. Its chairman, Ma Shaowei, has been dubbed "the invisible richest man" in Qinghai.

Wang Zhengsheng, deputy governor of Qinghai Provincial Government and director of Qinghai Public Security Department, announced at the conference that Xingqing Company is suspected of illegal mining and damaging the environment, and the public security organ has taken compulsory measures against Ma Shaowei and others.

The public security organ will release details of the case in due course and accept the supervision of the media.

In accordance with the decision of the Provincial Party Committee, Liang Yanguo, member of the Standing Committee of the Haixi Mongolian and Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Qinghai Province, and Li Yongping, member of the Party Group of the Haixi Mongolian and Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, were removed from their posts and are being investigated, Teng Jiacai, secretary of the Commission for Discipline Inspection of Qinghai Province, said at the news conference.

Teng noted that during the investigation, if it was found that there was collusion between officials and businesses that enabled the alleged illegal mining by Xingqing Company, people involved will face serious punishment.  

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