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Mining ban at warriors site

SHAANXI Province wants to ban mining around the terracotta warriors to protect the UNESCO World Heritage site from destructive jade collectors, a government official said yesterday.

Chen Yongli, a publicity official of the provincial capital city of Xi'an, said the city approved the ban around Lishan Mountain on Tuesday but that it still needs provincial government approval before it can take effect.

"The ban aims to protect the ecological environment around the site by stopping mining activities," he said.

Chen said the ban will be effective within a 1,000-square-kilometer area around Lishan Mountain.

He said the mausoleum of Qin Shihuang (259 BC-210 BC), China's first emperor, is next to the site of the terracotta warriors and would also be included in the mining ban.

In recent years, swarms of collectors could be seen drilling into the mountain, chopping down trees and dumping tons of rock in search of Lantian jade, which Chinese have considered a royal gem for 4,000 years.

Archaeologists began the third large-scale excavation of the terracotta warriors on June 13 after a halt of more than 20 years. They hope to find more clay figures and unravel some of the mysteries left behind by Emperor Qin.


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