Gypsum industry news
China: 19 people have been prosecuted for misconduct related to the collapse of a gypsum mine in Shandong Province in December 2015 that killed one worker and left 13 persons unaccounted for. Yurong Company, owner of the mine, bears the principal responsibility for the incident, for failing to monitor and safely maintain the mine, according to the Xinhua news agency. Poor risk awareness and safety control, as well as inadequate regard for possible dangers in room-and-pillar mining were also causes the of the collapse. Yurong has been fined US$0.43m.
Three mine controllers, believed to be liable for the fatal accident, have been arrested by local police and two officials from the local land and resources bureau were found guilty of dereliction of duty. 14 other local officials have also been punished for violating the Communist Party rules. Ma Congbo, president of Yurong, who committed suicide after the accident, will not be subject to criminal liabilities.
US: Louisiana's attorney general Jeff Landry says he has cancelled contracts with attorneys involved in state suits against Chinese gypsum wallboard companies, and is auditing nearly US$7m worth of contracts. Landry said he's auditing the billing and work under five contracts to see what they've done to help Louisiana's case. His office will take over the work, according to Associated Press.
"The state has spent nearly US$7m on outside legal counsel for the Chinese drywall litigation," said Landry. "This use of taxpayers' hard-earned money comes to an end under my watch." He added that payments to the firms ranged from nearly US$5.6m to the Perkins Coie law firm to US$101,700 to the Theriot Group.
Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin and four companies it supplied agreed in 2010 to pay for home repairs relating to damage caused by Chinese gypsum wallboard used mainly in the south of the US. District Judge Eldon Fallon has ruled that Taishan Gypsum must pay damages, and is considering the amount.
China: The Ministry of Justice has returned a lawsuit in which thousands of US homeowners say a 'cabinet-level' agency should pay for damage to their homes from alleged defective wallboard made in China. The ministry says it won't serve the legal papers because the agency is immune to such lawsuits and the legal service would infringe upon China's sovereignty.
US District Judge Eldon Fallon has ruled that Taishan Gypsum Company must pay for damages from the wallboard it made. The judge is considering damages for up to 4000 homeowners in six states. The brief letter from Beijing became part of the court record this week, about 21 months after lawyers for the homeowners sued the state-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, which oversees 117 state-owned companies. It was dated 8 April 2016.
Fallon ruled in 2010 that Taishan's wallboard emitted sulphur gas that damaged the homes of seven 'bellwether' plaintiffs from Virginia, making occupants ill, corroding copper, silver and other metals, damaging appliances and electronics, and stinking up the houses so they were "hard if not impossible to live in." The other states involved in the lawsuit include Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, according to Associated Press.
China: China National Building Material Company's (CNBM) net profit has fallen by 83% year-on-year to US$157m in 2015. Its revenue fell by 17.8% to US$15.4bn. China's largest cement producer has blamed the loss of profits on a steep drop in cement sales due to a national slowdown in fixed-asset investments, infrastructure construction and real estate investments.
The state-owned building materials company also produces gypsum wallboard, insulation materials and ceiling systems. Revenue from the sale of lightweight building materials fell by 7.6% to US$1.09bn as the price of gypsum wallboard fell. However, revenue from mineral wool insulation sales and composite materials rose by 25.3% to US$501m due to increased sales of pipes, tanks and rotor blades.
China: Four miners were rescued from a collapsed gypsum mine in Shandong Province on 29 January 2016 after 36 days trapped underground. About 1000 people have been involved in the rescue efforts, complicated by falling rocks, unstable geological structures, water outbursts and carbon monoxide leaks, according to the Xinhua news agency. The rescue was made after a 220m shaft was drilled to the trapped miners.
One miner died in the accident on 25 December 2015, while 11 were saved immediately after the incident, according to the report. Thirteen miners are still missing. The owner of the mine committed suicide by jumping into a flooded shaft after the accident and several executives of the mine are under police investigation.
China: A 190m borehole is being drilled to rescue four trapped miners from a Gypsum mine in Shandong. It is the fifth hole that has been drilled by the rescuers since the accident happened on 25 December 2015. The hole will be used as an escape passage for the four miners, according to China Radio International.
"Now the drill work has reached the layer of red sandstone, nearing the mine roadway. Everything went well on overall. We overcame the difficulties when drilling previous layers, and now it's the final sprint. The layer of red sandstone is as thick as 30m," said rescue worker Sang Jingqiu.
When the drilling is finished, rescuers will send down a rescue capsule to the miners in the underground tunnel. Rescuers have been able to pass food and other vital supplies through an emergency hole.
When the mine collapsed 29 miners were working underground. Apart from the four trapped miners that have been located, 11 have escaped or were rescued, one is confirmed dead and 13 remain missing.
China: Rescuers have dropped provisions to four Chinese mine workers trapped for 10 days in a wrecked gypsum mine and are slowly drilling a route to save them, according to Reuters.
The men are trapped more than 200m below the surface and state media has reported that they are in good condition. Because the ground is so fragile, the rescuers managed to drill only 25m deep after more than 40 hours. Rescue leader Du Bingjian said that he could not give a time when the men would be pulled up. The mine collapse on 25 December 2015 in Shandong killed at least one person. 13 others are missing and 11 made it to safety or were rescued earlier.
China's mines have long been the world's deadliest, but safety improvements have reduced deaths in recent years. In 2014, some 931 people were killed in mine accidents in China, drastically down from the year 2002, when nearly 7000 miners died.
China: Rescuers have found eight survivors five days after a gypsum mine collapse in Shandong Province. The accident happened on 25 December 2015 in Pingyi County when 29 people were working underground. One is confirmed dead, four managed to escape, and another seven have been rescued so far. The owner of the mine drowned himself by jumping into a well when working with the rescue team on 27 December 2015. The cause of the accident is under investigation.
China: China National Building Materials' (CNBM) 45.2%-owned subsidiary Beijing New Building Material Public Limited Company (BNBM) has agreed to acquire a 35% equity interest in Taishan Gypsum Company through a private issuance of 369 million BNBM shares to Taishan Gypsum minority shareholders at US$1.79/share for a total of US$661m.
Upon completion, BNBM will directly and indirectly hold the entire equity interest in Taishan Gypsum. Taishan Gypsum minority shareholders will hold 20.7% of the enlarged issued share capital of BNBM after the private issuance. The equity interest held by CNBM in BNBM will reduce from about 45.2% to 35.84%.
Upon completion of the transaction, Taishan Gypsum will be wholly-owned by BNBM, enabling CNBM to further integrate its internal resources, allowing BNBM to improve its operating results and further consolidate the group's market position.
China: China Vanadium Titano-Magnetite Mining said that it has agreed to acquire 51% of the paid-up registered capital of Sichuan Haoyuan New Materials Co Ltd at US$59.3m. Sichuan Haoyuan's wholly-owned subsidiary Hanyuan County Xinjin Mining Co Ltd currently holds the mining permit of the Shigou gypsum mine, which is located in Sichuan Province. The mine has a raw gypsum output capacity of 0.30Mt/yr.