MAC: Mines and Communities

63 killed and 26 trapped in three separate coal mine accidents

Published by MAC on 2006-07-15

63 killed and 26 trapped in three separate coal mine accidents

Sixty-three people were killed and 26 others were trapped in three separate coal mine accidents on 15 July.

The first accident was an explosion occurred at about 4pm on Saturday at the Linjiazhuang coal mine in Lingshi county, Jinzhong city, Shanxi province , when 64 miners were working underground. As of 17 July, 49 were killed and eight others remained trapped, according to Xinhua News Agency.

Only six miners escaped after the blast and one worker suffering carbon monoxide poisoning was rescued on Sunday morning. Initial investigation showed that the coal dust explosion in the illegal colliery was triggered by an unauthorized explosion in an adjacent mine.

In another accident, at least 14 people were confirmed dead when a swelling river flooded a state-owned colliery in central China's Hunan Province on Saturday.

Among the dead were a miner on duty, seven technicians who were in the pit for emergency rescue operations, as well as six workers who were trapped in collapsed houses and flooded pump rooms, according to the emergency rescue headquarters at the Shenjiawan Colliery of the Hongwei Mining Co. in Hengyang City.

Continuous rainstorm swelled the upper reaches of the Leishui River in Leiyang city and destroyed the dams of a reservoir close to the colliery on Saturday, Xinhua reported. The Leishui River, a branch of the Xiangjiang River, is experiencing the worst flood of the past century with the water level rocketing 10.11 metres between Friday and Sunday to hit record high.

On the other hand, 18 miners were trapped in a mine flood in the Piaopoyuan coal mine in Ziyun Miao Buyi county, Guizhou Province.

China's coal mines are the most dangerous in the world. According to government statistics, 5,986 miners were killed last year. But China Labour Bulletin learned from a government source that the real number of mining deaths should be about 20,000 per year.

Sources: Xinhua News Agency (17 July 2006), South China Morning Post (17 July 2006), Agence France-presse (16 July 2006), China Labour Bulletin 17 July 2006

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