MAC: Mines and Communities

Two Managers Of Chenjiashan Coal Mine Jailed For Negligence

Published by MAC on 2006-11-30

Two Managers of Chenjiashan Coal Mine Jailed for Negligence

Report compiled by China Labour Bulletin

30th November 2006

Two coal mine bosses were sentenced to prison for negligence causing an accident that killed 166 miners in Shaanxi province two years ago.

The gas explosion at Chenjiashan Coal Mine in Tungchuan city, Shaanxi province, was one of the worst coal mine disasters in decades. The pit had caught fire about one week before the accident, but miners were forced to go down to work in the mine.

Liu Shuangming, former director of the coal mine, was jailed for five years and six months and Wang Youjun, former deputy director and chief engineer, was jailed for five years.

Liu and Wang had asked the miners to go down to work in the pits despite being of the risks of their lives, the Yaozhou District People's Court of Tongchuan city heard. "After the fire was put out, [they] ordered the miners to risk their lives resuming production without sufficient safety measures," Xinhua said. "Their action was extremely outrageous."

A total of 293 miners were working underground when the deadly blast hit the Chenjiashan Coal Mine on 28 November 2004. Only 127 miners who were working near the entrance were rescued, including 45 who were injured in the explosion.

The accident caused a direct economic loss of nearly 42 million yuan (US$5.2 million), Xinhua News Agency reported.

Liu and Wang were only arrested by police on 9 December last year, one year after the accident. The Chenjiashan Coal Mine is a state-owned enterprise with 3,400 employees and its annual production capacity amounts to 2.6 million tons.

Also on 29 November, the Changji Intermediate People's Court in Xinjiang upheld a lower court's decision in June to sentence five managers and technicians at Shenlong Coal Mine in Fukang county to jail terms of three to six years for a gas explosion that killed 83 miners in July last year.

Despite the central government's repeated orders to close small coal mines, more coal mine accidents occurred in the past few days, claiming about 100 lives:

A gas explosion hit the Changuyuan Coal Mine in Fuyang in Yunnan province on 25 November, killing 32 miners. A total of 97 miners were changing shifts at that time. Thirty-seven managed to escape unhurt and 28 were injured.

As of 28 November, 25 miners were confirmed dead after an explosion occurred on 26 November at the Yuanhua Coal Mine in Jixi city, Heilongjiang province, when 40 miners were working underground. Nine escaped unhurt, four were rescued and two were still missing.

A gas blast hit Luweitan Colliery in Linfen city, Shanxi province, on 26 November, killing all 24 miners underground.

Eleven workers who were sorting impurities from a coal heap were buried when the heap collapsed at the Shuicheng Coal Mine Group colliery in Guizhou province on 27 November. Seven workers died and four were rescued.

Seven miners died after an explosion took place on 26 November at the Lianying Coal Mine, an illegally operating mine, in Yongshan town, Leping city, Jiangxi province. Seven miners at a nearby coal mine suffered burns.

Eleven miners were killed in a gas blast on 29 November in the No. 1 pit in Tanshanling town, Wuwei city, Gansu province. Thirty-eight people were working in four sections. The dead all belonged to the third section.

Sources: Xinhua News Agency (28 November 2006, 29 November 2006), South China Morning Post (29 November 2006), People's Daily (30 November 2006)
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