BEIJING, Aug. 9 (Xinhua) -- China dealt with 70,000 illegal mining cases in an eighteen-month period from 2005 to the end of June 2006, according to statistics released by the Ministry of Land and Resources (MLR).
The MLR recorded 64,661 cases of mining without a license, 1,316 cases involving illegal trading in prospecting and mining rights, and 4,383 cases of mining beyond boundary lines.
China punished 2,660 civil servants who held stakes in mines. 1,438 suspects charged with mining crimes have been handed over to judicial departments. The government revoked 1,647 exploration and mining licenses.
China has intensified the crackdown on illegal mining, and enhanced supervision in this area, the Economy Daily, a leading Chinese business newspaper said Wednesday.
The objective is to improve management of exploration and mining of the country's mineral resources.
Because of the constant price rises for mining products such as coal and iron, illegal and unlicensed mining still exists in China, an MLR official said. The MLR will therefore continue to work to improve supervision in this area.
In China illegal mine owners are even willing to risk their own lives in the rush for soaring profits brought by booming demand for mineral resources.
Zhang Liyou, for example, a villager in Yinan County of northern China's Shangdong province, died in an accident in an illegal gold mine that the local government had closed and which he reopened in 2004. The international gold price has rocketed since 2003.
China has repeatedly tried to eradicate illegal mining. In the rush for profits, however, validity and safety regulations are often ignored, with production pushed beyond capacity limits and dangerous mines sometimes reopened illegally.
Illegal mining also dumps pollutants in rivers and lakes, damages the environment and destroys arable land, said the Ministry.
Illegal activity is widespread because in some areas mineral reserves lie close to the surface, making mining activity profitable even with primitive equipment, the newspaper said. Enditem