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Yichun Luming Mining Co Ltd, the company at the centre of a tailings dam leak in northeast China has been told by authorities that its licence has been suspended, according to a report in Reuters.

A leak that resulted in a local river being polluted occurred in the Heilongjiang Province on March 28 and was reportedly stopped on March 31 according to Xinhua news agency.

1600 people were dispatched to stop the leak indicating that this clearly was a serious incident.

Approximately 200 cubic meters of polluting materials were cleared according to press reports.

The emergency management bureau in the city of Yichun will “temporarily withhold the company’s safe production licence” while rectifications are carried out, a report on the Heilongjiang government website said on Wednesday, according to reports.

Xinhua news agency also reported, “The provincial emergency management department has set up an investigation team of experts from the provincial environment, water resources and weather departments to look into the cause of the leakage.”

The waste produced from mining ore is often stored in these dams in the form of ‘tailings’ and these develop over time. Over 200 people died when a huge tailings dam collapsed in Brazil in 2019. The damn owned by Brazilian mining giant Vale unleashed a torrent of mud and mining waste in a small town Villa Ferteco, a kilometre or so away.

An in-depth report into tailings dams can be found here.

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