UPDATE: City heads detained for concealing Shandong goldmine explosion
Published: Feb 23, 2021 07:53 PM

Rescuers try to make contact with trapped miners at the explosion site of a gold mine in Qixia City, east China's Shandong Province, Jan. 18, 2021. A paper slip retrieved from underneath a mine said that 12 workers are still alive while the other 10 are in unclear situation, after they were trapped following a gold mine blast in east China's Shandong Province, according to local authorities.

The former Party chief and the former mayor of Qixia have been detained for concealing a goldmine explosion which killed 10 miners, with one still missing, in Qixia, East China's Shandong Province. At least 45 people have been held responsible for the accident, media reported. 

The fatal goldmine explosion took place on January 10, trapping 22 miners underground, but it was only reported to local authorities after 30 hours. An all-out rescue effort soon followed. The rescue operation was halted on January 25, with 11 miners rescued, 10 confirmed dead and one still missing. 

After the rescue, the cause of the accident was not revealed immediately, but the local government and the provincial government set up a team of investigators to conduct a thorough probe into all aspects of the incident. 

On Tuesday, investigators announced that the accident was found to be a major production safety accident caused by the illegal storage and use of civilian explosive materials and illegal fire operation at the wellhead, the People's Daily reported on Tuesday. 

The report said that the management of underground explosives was shoddy, and the goldmine owner, Shandong Wucailong Investment Co Ltd, failed to fulfill the main responsibility to guarantee safe production. In addition, relevant departments and the local government did not have systems in place for safety management.

The then-secretary of the CPC Qixia Municipal Committee Yao Xiuxia, former deputy secretary and mayor Zhu Tao, as well as the legal representative of Wucailong Co Jia Qiaoyu were investigated by the public security authorities for concealing and delayed reporting of the accident. Yu and Zhu have been detained for concealing the accident, according to the official release. 

Fifteen executives, including the legal representative of Wucailong Co and the project manager and actual controller of the two companies that outsourced the operation, were held criminally responsible according to the law.

Twenty-eight key personnel of Yantai Municipal Party Committee and the municipal government were given Party disciplinary and organizational punishment.

Seven companies related to the accident were also punished according to the law.

Global Times