More than two months after a mine dam burst and killed more than 40 people when it submerged a Shanxi hamlet in August, the central government began investigating the disaster yesterday. State Administration of Work Safety deputy director Wang Dexue told Xinhua on Sunday that initial findings had shown the August 1 disaster in Loufan county was 'definitely' a man-made, rather than natural catastrophe. The official death toll by Sunday was 44 with one person injured. Compensation payouts, largely financed by Taiyuan Iron and Steel, totalled more than 10 million yuan (HK$11.35 million). Mr Wang said the iron ore mine's tailings dam was built on a bed of broken rock; its volume of waste had exceeded the design maximum; the village below should have been relocated; and, above all, a crack was discovered in April but no remedial action was taken. Mr Wang said investigation findings would be released in two months. Mainland work safety analysts said it was unusual for Beijing to take more than two months to decide to launch an investigation considering the leadership's recent, relatively prompt responses to mining disasters. Yesterday, Xinhua reported that prosecutors in Henan province had approved the arrest of 16 people, including an investor and a senior employee of the Dengfeng coal bureau, for their roles in a gas explosion late last month resulting in the deaths of 37 coal miners. Xinhua said Wu Zhenchao , the senior employee, and six other government officials had been indicted for dereliction of duty and would face criminal charges. Top leaders were also quick to act in another serious accident in Shanxi last month. A similar tailings dam landslide occurred in Xiangfen county, and within a week, private mine owners were arrested, county and city government heads were sacked and provincial governor Meng Xuenong resigned. Beijing suppressed bad news during the Olympics, but analysts suggested that a contributing factor to the delay may have been that the mine was owned and operated by Taiyuan Iron and Steel, the world's biggest stainless steel supplier. A source in the Chinese Communist Party Central Discipline Committee said the central government was tough on private businesses but was often slow to act against state-owned enterprises. 'The boss of an important state-owned enterprise is more difficult to sack than a governor,' the source said. 'Without some big guanxi [connections] in Beijing, they cannot get the position, and once there, they have a lot of money to cement it.'