MAC: Mines and Communities

China mine death toll rises to 83

Published by MAC on 2005-07-13

China mine death toll rises to 83

13th July 2005

AFX News

Beijing - The death toll from a gas explosion Monday in a coal mine in Fukang city, Xinjiang region, northwestern China climbed to 83, state media said today, as only four miners were found alive.

China's government work safety agency said over-production, the lack of a work safety licence and lax management were to blame for the tragedy, which was the worst in Xinjiang's history.

Xinhua reported the mine had a maximum production capacity of 90,000 tons a year but reportedly turned out 180,000 tons of coal in the first half of this year alone.

'The over-production had led to an extremely high gas density in the shaft and the management failed to take effective measures to prevent casualties, said Li Yizhong, director of the State Administration for Work Safety.

China's strong demand for coal to fuel industries such as coal-fired power plants, steel and cement has encouraged many profit-driven mines to operate illegally even after being ordered to shut down.

Official figures show more than 6,000 miners died in mine accidents in China last year, although independent estimates say the real figure could be as high as 20,000.

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