Multiple news sources report that a weekend spill at a molybdenum mine in northeastern China threatens to pollute a river providing water for a province of 38.3 million people.
A notice released by the provincial government Sunday night states that a “second-level” emergency response is in progress after a dam holding back a tailings pond at the Yichun Luming Mining Company failed Saturday afternoon.
Tailings are the leftovers after ore has been processed to remove the valuable portion. Part of the resulting spill found its way into a nearby river.
China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment has dispatched a team to Yichun to secure a safe water supply for residents until the spill is cleaned up.
Reuters reports that the collapse of a tailing dam in Brazil last year killed more than 250 people.