A poisoned chalice, May 1

1 May 2014

The setting up of a mine in a remote rural location might at first appear to be a good move for an economy. However, it can become a poisoned chalice in later years. This became the case for a mine and refinery set up in 1950 in Shimen county in Hunan province. It mines a mineral called realgar, from which arsenic is derived. It has since emerged that more than 800 workers and relatives and 400 villagers have been diagnosed with arsenic poisoning. Media reports say at least 500 workers have died. The plant was shut in 2011. Photographers from Imaginechina visited the area to investigate the tragedy.