Major safety crackdown in China

A GOVERNMENT initiative to overhaul China’s deadly coal mining industry has reportedly resulted in a major restructuring move that will shut down 625 coal mines around the country.
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Justin Niessner

The announcement follows a weekend report from state media which confirmed 10 deaths due to a colliery flood in the country’s northeast.

China Daily cited a statement from the National Energy Administration that mandated the closure of mines which have a total production capacity of 23.47 million tons by the end of the year.

The industry restructuring is meant to target obsolete production methods, improve facilities at viable mines, conduct mergers and acquisitions and close down illegal mining operations.

The English-language news service quoted NEA deputy director Wu Yin on the need to embrace modern techniques for coal extraction, reduce the number of small operations and establish new mines with advanced technology.

“China will continue to promote mergers and acquisitions in the coal industry,” Wu told the newspaper.

“We will work to develop large coal companies and shut down small coal mines to eliminate outdated operations.”

The NEA’s statement trails a report from state-owned press agency Xinhua that 10 of 14 coal miners trapped in a Heilongjiang province flood have been confirmed dead.

Xinhua said initial investigations suggested water came in from an abandoned mined-out area above the work platform.

Efforts to rescue the remaining four miners are ongoing.

In April, the State Administration of Work Safety demanded coal miners pay an increased safety investment for each ton of coal produced.

Funds from the required safety payments will go toward improving facilities, education, underground shelters and monitoring equipment for major sources of danger.

The government initiative to reduce hazardous mines has resulted in the closure of more than 9000 small coal mines since 2006.

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