BEIJING, Oct. 13 (UPI) -- The centuries old Great Wall of China, completed during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), is crumbling in places due to illegal mining, China Daily reported.
Citing a report in the people.com.cn, the newspaper said the 5,500-mile-long east-west wall has become a victim of illegal mineral mining operators.
The report said a complete section of the wall in Laiyuan County in north China's Hebei Province crumbled after operators took away reserves of iron, copper, molybdenum and nickel buried along a 94-mile stretch of the landmark.
The report quoted a survey as saying more than 80 percent of the Great Wall within the county remains in bad shape, blamed both on tourism and inadequate infrastructure. However, the survey said illegal mining is causing the most damage.
"We have no idea how many enterprises are engaged in the mining along the Great Wall site," Guo Jianyong, an engineer from the province's ancient architecture protection institution, was quoted as saying.