Inner Mongolia mining accident causes shutdown in fluorspar production

By Carrie Shi
Published: Wednesday, 03 April 2019

An accident at a mine in West Ujimqin Banner has closed many mines on health and safety grounds.

Fluorspar production will be affected by the Chinese government’s decision to shut down mining activity in the country’s northern province of Inner Mongolia after an accident at a mine killed 21 workers and injured a further 29, Fastmarkets heard on Friday March 1.

The incident happened on February 24 at a silver, tin, lead and zinc mine in West Ujimqin Banner, operated by Yinman Mining. Operations were suspended immediately.

It appears that faulty brakes on a truck that was unsuitable for underground transport caused it to crash in a tunnel. The vehicle was used to transport mine personnel but was reported to be overloaded at the time.

Following this breach of health and safety procedures, many mines in the region have been closed, and this includes many fluorspar mines.

The tin market has already been affected by the shutdowns and the consequences are now being seen in fluorspar production, for which Inner Mongolia is a hub.

Local government authorities have started safety inspections at all mining companies in the province, and these will continue for around one month, according to sources.

"Our production has been affected by this accident, and we don’t know when production can be resumed," a producer in Inner Mongolia said. "Acidspar prices haven’t been influenced for the moment, but I think prices will not drop any further after the recent decrease."

The price for acidspar in China dropped in the week ended March 1, but this was reported to be due to lower domestic demand.

The price for acidspar, 97% CaF2, wet filtercake, fob China, was assessed at $450-550 per tonne on February 28. This is down from $500-580 per tonne the week before.