MAC: Mines and Communities

Chinese protests mount as province suspends coal production

Published by MAC on 2013-05-21
Source: EBR, Reuters, China Daily

28 workers die in May 11th mine explosion

As local citizen protests against pollution mount in China, one provincial government has suspended all coal production, following a fatal explosion earlier this month.

Previous article on MAC: Is China losing its battle against state-backed polluters?

Provincial government of China bans coal mining after Taozigou coal mine mishap

Energy Business Review (EBR)

13 May 2013

The government of Sichuan in China has suspended production at all the coal mines in the province following an explosion at Taozigou coal mine in Luzhou city, near Lu County.

The State Administration of Work Safety has released a statement ordering the suspension of all the coal mines in the province. The authorities are looking to close 500 small coal mines by 2013 end.

Meanwhile, the blast at the mine, which occured on 11 May 2013, has claimed 28 lives, while 18 workers were injured. Three of them are said to be in critical condition.

A total of 81 of 108 miners were rescued from the mine, reported Xinhua Agency.

According to provincial authorities illegal mining has caused the explosion.

The incident follows a similar mining mishap in the country at a coal mine in Guizhou province on 10 May 2013. Twelve miners were dead and two other were severely injured.

China battery plant protest gives voice to rising anger over pollution

By Jane Lee and Gabriel Wildau


11 May 2013

SHANGHAI - Hundreds of protesters gathered in the Chinese financial hub of Shanghai on Saturday to oppose plans for a lithium battery factory, highlighting growing social tension over pollution.

Police stood by as residents marched peacefully along a busy street in the Songjiang district of the city, gathering at an intersection near the site of a Carrefour hypermarket, chanting and holding signs saying "No factory here, we love Songjiang."

Many wore matching t-shirts with an image of a smoky factory enclosed by the red "no" symbol.

Residents are concerned about potential waste water and gas emissions from the plant, which would be built by Hefei Guoxuan High-tech Power Energy Co Ltd.

Protests over pollution are becoming more frequent in China, as the country's increasingly affluent urban population begins to object to the model of growth at all costs that has fuelled the economy for three decades.

Saturday's gathering, attracting about 1,000 protesters, was the third mass protest in recent weeks against the planned factory.

In response, Songjiang district officials said late last month that the factory would only produce lithium cells and conduct final assembly of the batteries, but would not be permitted to produce anode and cathode, the official Global Times reported at the time.

Songjiang officials say the plant will be safe.

Last week, several hundred people took to the streets of Kunming, in southwest Yunnan province, to protest against a chemical refinery planned by China National Petroleum Corp, China's largest energy producer.

Kunming's mayor, Li Wenrong, said on Friday that the government will halt the project if most citizens object to it, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

In November, the eastern port of Ningbo suspended a petrochemical project after several days of street protests.

Last July, a crowd of thousands in Qidong city, north of Shanghai, ransacked government offices in a protest against a pipeline for waste from a paper factory.

(Editing by Nick Macfie)

Shanghai battery factory canceled over protest

By Wang Zhenghua

China Daily

16 May 2013

Plans for plant pulled after protests over environmental concerns

A Shanghai battery maker has given in to public pressure and canceled its plans for a new lithium battery factory in the city's Songjiang district.

Shanghai Guoxuan New Energy said on Wednesday it had withdrawn its investment for the Songjiang program and would return the planned factory site to the local government, without claiming any compensation.

The company gave in after hundreds of residents of Songjiang, in Shanghai's southwestern outskirts, held three protests against the planned factory out of concern about potential wastewater and gas emissions from the plant.

A fourth protest had been planned for this weekend in downtown Shanghai.

A resident named Zhu said on Wednesday that local people viewed the planned plant as a safety hazard.

The project has upset many and its cancelation gave people a sigh of relief, she said.

"Everybody is texting the news, and there are plans for a celebration," she said.

"We are delighted with the company's decision because we love Songjiang and we want a safe and clean environment."

Plans for the factory on a 23-acre plot in Songjiang Industrial Park were first announced in a joint news conference issued in August by the industrial park and Shanghai Guoxuan, a subsidiary of Hefei Guoxuan High-tech Power Energy Co Ltd.

Despite an official environmental evaluation that claimed the project would cause little air or water pollution, residents were still concerned and started organizing protests last month.

In recent weeks, Songjiang government officials tried to persuade residents to accept the project, saying the plant would only be allowed to produce lithium cells and conduct final assembly of the batteries.

Officials at Songjiang's publicity office said on Wednesday that the district government would complete any necessary cleanup work after the project has been totally shut down.

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