Coal mines that fail to meet safety stan­dards must be closed for good

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT - SATUR­DAY’S COAL MINE AC­CI­DENT

in Chifeng in the In­ner Mon­go­lia au­ton­o­mous re­gion is al­ready known to have killed 32, with min­ers still trapped un­der­ground. In­com­plete data show that, be­sides this one, there have been at least eight ma­jor coal mine ac­ci­dents since Oc­to­ber, which have claimed 97 lives in all. Bei­jing News com­ments:

The in­creas­ing fre­quency of coal mine disas­ters since Oc­to­ber is a re­sult of the up­turn in the coal in­dus­try. As the northern re­gions need to burn coal to pro­vide cen­tral heat­ing to res­i­dents, the price of coal has been ris­ing. On Nov 2, the price of steam coal from around the Bo­hai re­gion, which is con­sid­ered a barom­e­ter of the do­mes­tic coal in­dus­try, reached 607 yuan ($88.2) per ton, 64 per­cent higher than at the be­gin­ning of the year.

The ris­ing price of coal has prompted mine own­ers to in­crease pro­duc­tion; some of them have even re­opened coal mines that had al­ready been shut down for safety rea­sons.

The coal mine in the In­ner Mon­go­lia case, Baoma coal mine, is a typ­i­cal ex­am­ple. It was forced to shut down by the au­thor­i­ties, but its own­ers re­opened it again with­out per­mis­sion.

It is not only the coal mine own­ers and the mine man­agers that should be held ac­count­able for the disas­ter, but also the lo­cal su­per­vi­sors. Those re­spon­si­ble for mine safety should also pay if there has been any dere­lic­tion of duty on their part. It is time the higher au­thor­i­ties in­spected more re­gions to find out whether other dan­ger­ous mines that have been forced to cease oper­a­tions have been re­opened, so as to pre­vent more tragedies from hap­pen­ing.

The top lead­er­ship has been call­ing for stronger reg­u­lat­ing of the coal in­dus­try, which in­cludes two parts: cut­ting over­ca­pac­ity for the good of the econ­omy, and strength­en­ing safety mea­sures to pro­tect the lives and safety of coal min­ers. Lo­cal coal mine own­ers and coal mine su­per­vi­sors must shut down the coal mines that fail to meet safety stan­dards. We can­not af­ford any more disas­ters.

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