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Mining company accused of killing dozens, trespassing, stealing gold; Report

Dozens of local men are said to have died in mines in West Africa run by a Chinese mining company accused of digging under a neighbouring concession to steal a large amount of gold, according to media reports. According to the Sydney Morning Herald’s year-long investigation, Shaanxi Mining Company Ghana Ltd is also embroiled in a bitter dispute with an Australian mining company, which claims the state-linked Chinese firm seeking gold on an adjacent block dug long tunnels under their concession area to ‘steal’ gold worth tens of millions of dollars.

The mines are opposite each other, separated by 2.5 kilometres of rock, rubble, and poverty above ground. Cassius Mining Limited operates an exploration mine in Australia. The Shaanxi Mining Company, a Chinese state-linked mine, is the other. Both came here to make their fortune by mining the rich gold veins that run through this ancient terrain, but competition quickly turned to suspicion and hostility. They are now embroiled in a bitter legal battle over trespass, theft, and the deaths of more than a dozen miners.

Cassius suspected Shaanxi’s shafts were 500 metres underground and had horizontal tunnels leading into the Australian concession. A subterranean laser probe confirmed that Shaanxi’s tunnels were far more extensive than previously revealed. The Chinese miners had planted explosives at the entrance to their shafts. Cassius was forcibly barred from entering sensitive areas by Shaanxi staff. Scuffles erupted between the Chinese and Australian camps, fueled by suspicion and language barriers.

According to the media portal, Australian mining manager Andrew Head is still traumatised by the deaths of dozens of miners at a Chinese state-linked mine in Africa. ‘ One day, as we were going into one area, the Chinese started running away; they had laid explosives nearby to show us we weren’t supposed to be in the mine,’┬ásays one member of Head’s team who requested anonymity due to concerns for their safety.

A Cassius-commissioned report obtained by The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age found ‘a strong probability’ that Shaanxi was trespassing on five levels of the Cassius concession, all the way along its eastern and northern borders. ‘ Clear evidence of trespass has been gathered, indicating that Shaanxi are mining and exploring into Cassius’s licence, to the north and east,’ according to the report. Given the area’s known geology and assumed vein grades, the amount of gold removed is likely significant’.

 

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