Beijing: A day after 83 workers were buried following a massive landslide in a gold mining area in Tibet, over 1,000 rescue workers are braving difficult terrain to search for the survivors.

Police personnel, firefighters and medical staff are working together at the high-altitude site to carry out rescue operations, reported.

About 200 large vehicles and equipment, 15 sniffer dogs and 15 life-detector machines are being used in the rescue. The landslide engulfed the mine Maizhokunggar County of Lhasa, the regional capital.

The victims were workers from Tibet Huatailong Mining Development Company Limited, a subsidiary of the China National Gold Group Corporation located about 68 km from provincial capital of Lhasa.

The affected area of the landslide, which is at an altitude of 4,600 metres, is three kilometre long, with about two million cubic meters of mud, rock and debris.

Villagers living nearby told that the landslide struck suddenly, bringing massive rocks down to smash the workers' camp area in early morning.

A mass of rolling rock from the mountain-top sliced a big excavator in two parts, a witness said. Two of the buried workers are local Tibetans and others were recruited mainly from neighbouring provinces of Yunnan, Guizhou and Sichuan.

Five excavators, five pick-up trucks and a SUV were also buried in the debris, said Zou Yuming, deputy head of the Maizhokunggar County Government.

The rescue will be difficult due to the size of the affected area, said an official from the regional fire department, the report said. Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang have ordered top efforts to rescue the buried workers. The National Disaster Reduction Commission and the Ministry of Civil Affairs initiated an emergency response to the Tibet landslide at 10 pm and sent work teams led by Vice Minister of Civil Affairs Jiang Li to aid in disaster relief, an official statement said.

The company's mining permit covers a total area of 144 square kilometres at an altitude of 4,000 to 5,407 meteres. Located within the Gangdise Copper Metallogeny Belt in central Tibet, the Jiama project has been developing amid disputes.

Before the mining area was taken over by Huatailong in late 2009, a dozen private miners were caught up in a rat race for the rich ore supplies, ignoring their responsibilities to the local community and environment, it said.


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