The Government said in November it would close 4000 but then upped the figure to more than 5000 in January of this year. The move, media outlets said last year, is part of an established safety campaign to enforce regulations and prevent accidents.
“China will step up efforts to close down those small mines without a safe production licence,” State Administration of Coal Mine Safety deputy director Wang Shuhe told Xinhua.
The remainder of the operations, he told the government-owned news service, would be forced to shut down by the end of March. The move would not only improve the country’s mine safety but would also aid in a restructuring of the industry, he said.
Wang’s announcement comes after a string of fatal accidents across China that have claimed several lives. Last year, according to a February report in the Shanghai Daily, 5986 workers died in 3341 mining accidents, four of which took more than 100 lives at once.