China mine collapses as heavy rains persist
Fri, Jul 16, 2010

BEIJING - A lead and zinc mine in eastern China has caved in due to heavy rain and threatens to contaminate a popular lake, state media said Friday, in the latest of series of flooding-related disasters.

A river feeding Zhejiang's Qiandao Lake - one of the province's major tourist attractions - has turned grey after slag from the collapsed mine leaked out, the Xinhua news agency said.

The extent of any possible pollution was not known, said the report, adding that work had been lauched to divert flood waters away from the mine.

Nearly every province in the country's southern half, including Zhejiang, has seen deadly flooding triggered by torrential downpours since the beginning of July.

So far, 135 people have died in floods and landslides, and another 41 are missing, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

Authorities are also bracing for the arrival of Typhoon Conson, which killed 23 people and left dozens missing in the Philippines.

It could make landfall on Hainan island off China's southern coast later Friday, the National Meteorological Centre said.

The centre has warned that Hainan, nearby Guangdong province, and the Guangxi region can expect torrential rain.

The typhoon could worsen problems along the Yangtze River basin, which acts as an unofficial dividing line between the north and south of the country and has seen rivers and lakes swelled by days of rainfall.

The head of the flood control office at the Yangtze River Water Resources Commission told AFP on Thursday that if the region continued to be drenched, China could experience the worst floods in 12 years.

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