BEIJING, August 9 -- The Ministry of Land and Resources (MLR) yesterday publicized eight illegal mining cases amid a two-and-a-half-year national campaign to stop the unauthorized exploitation of mineral deposits.
It is the first time that the MLR, the nation's top land and resources watchdog, disclosed the progress of the campaign since a new policy on reining in illegal mining was adopted in early 2005.
From 2005 to June 2006, land and resources departments at all levels have cracked down on 70,360 cases of unauthorized mining and illegal tapping, the ministry said.
The ministry also confiscated 82.14 million tons of illegal ore, punished 2,660 public servants involved in illegal mining and transferred 1,438 suspects to judicial departments for criminal investigations.
Stimulated by rocketing mineral prices, illegal mining activities such as exploitation without certificates and overexploitation are rampant in some places, a ministry official said.
Such activities have triggered severe pollution problems, destroyed arable land and affected the daily lives of local farmers, officials said.
The ministry deliberately selected eight illegal mining cases from Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Shandong, Henan, Sichuan, Guizhou, Yunnan and Gansu provinces, where land and resources departments have done a good job, officials said.
In one case, Jiang Shunyi, a resident of Taizhou in Jiangsu Province, was sentenced to two years in prison and fined 200,000 yuan (US$24,660) for tapping and selling clay without a certificate, according to a MLR press release.
From June 2003 to February 2004, Jiang was accused of illicitly exploiting 147,300 cubic metres of clay, a material widely used in making bricks, tiles and pottery, said the land and resources bureau in Taizhou.
Jiang gave a deaf ear when the bureau issued him a notice to stop his illegal exploitation of resources, officials said.
In another case, the city government of Hezuo in Gansu Province was accused of illegally approving exploitation rights for nine companies from July 2004 to October 2005, according to the news release.
(Source: China Daily)