Expecting more from Chinese coal miners

CENTRAL China's Henan Province has implemented new coal miner qualification standards, according to provincial government officials.

Staff Reporter

The provincial regulation stipulates that all mine workers must possess mining credentials by the end of this year and those without credentials must undergo training and acquire a certificate before returning to their posts, official news agency Xinhua reported.

Newly recruited miners must be under 30 years old and should have finished middle school before entering the profession, while mine managers are required to have senior high school certificates and at least two years mining experience, according to the regulation.

“The measure aims to improve miner qualifications to boost safety and work efficiency," deputy director of the provincial Mining Industry Administration Liu Shiwei told Xinhua.

Companies that violate the regulation will face fines.

Henan Province, which accounted for 8% of the total national coal output in 2005, is the first province in China to define professional standards for coal miners, Liu said.

Currently, only 17.6% of the 340,000 miners in the province have professional credentials, and the lack of qualified miners is a major reason for coal mine accidents, Liu told Xinhua.

He said 111 miners were killed in 35 mining accidents in the province during the first 11 months of 2006.