More small China mines to close

THE number of small mines in China will fall below the 10,000 mark by 2010 as the country’s officials force the closure of at least 4000 more small mines, an industry official said Wednesday.

Donna Schmidt

According to Xinhua, State Administration of Coal Mine Safety head Zhao Tiechui has asked that towns, regions and provinces encourage the efforts of larger mines while closing small operations and ensuring they remain idle.

“The large number of small coal mines remains a threat to production safety,” he argued at a meeting this week in the Liaoning Province on treating coal mine gas.

According to the news service, China currently has 16,000 active coal mines, 90% of which are classified as small. Fatality rates at these mines across the country are eight times higher than larger, state-owned complexes for every 1 million tonnes of produced coal.

According to the State Administration of Work Safety, the death toll per 1Mt of coal produced has fallen to 1.05 people in the first half of 2008, from 3.08 in 2005, Xinhua reported.

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