China to close 5000 mines

CHINA will shut 5000 small coal mines this year in a crackdown on outdated, non-compliant and illegal operations.

Justin Niessner

The initiative by the State Administration of Work Safety will encourage mergers between smaller companies to develop large industrial groups.

The plan will reportedly call for all mines to finish building emergency systems by the end of June and the prioritization of the construction of refuge chambers.

Official state media outlet Xinhua said these changes follow up on a 2010 government safety order and will be required at all coal mines within three years.

Higher standards for the scale and scope of mining companies will also be established to promote industrial conglomerates in place of small, less professional operations.

In September, Chinese authorities pledged to shut down 20,000 illegal and unsafe mines by 2015 following a string of deadly gas explosions and collapses.

The program will target mines without required licenses, operations that produce after official stop orders, and mines operating outside their approved capacity.

Government efforts to reduce hazardous mines have resulted in the closure of more than 9000 small coal mines since 2006.

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