Coal mine ex­plo­sion kills 26 min­ers in cen­tral China

The Pak Banker - - 6international -

BEI­JING: An ex­plo­sion at a coal mine in cen­tral China killed 26 min­ers who were work­ing de­spite an or­der to halt pro­duc­tion, of­fi­cials said Wed­nes­day, while a mine tun­nel col­lapse else­where left four dead in the lat­est ac­ci­dents to strike the coun­try's min­ing in­dus­try.

The death toll from the blast that struck Tues­day evening at the op­er­a­tion in He­nan prov­ince's Mianchi County dou­bled af­ter 13 more bod­ies were found, said an of­fi­cial sur­named Li from the He­nan Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Coal Safety.

An­other 20 min­ers man­aged to es­cape from the mine, he said, adding it was un­clear why the mine had ini­tially re­ported that only 33 min­ers were work­ing un­der­ground at the time of the blast.

A po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion is un­der way, the of­fi­cial Xin­hua News Agency re­ported. Most such ac­ci­dents are usu­ally blamed on a buildup of coal gas or meth­ane ig­nited by sparks or open flames.

The mine be­longed to the Juyuan Coal In­dus­try Co., a sub­sidiary of the state-owned Yi Ma Coal In­dus­try Group, and had been or­dered to halt ex­trac­tions while its op­er­a­tions were re­or­ga­nized, Xin­hua said. It was un­clear why the mine was still in op­er­a­tion.

With an an­nual pro­duc­tion of 150,000 tons of coal, the mine is typ­i­cal of the mid-size op­er­a­tions that China has been seek­ing to con­sol­i­date into safer, more ef­fi­cient op­er­a­tions. In a sep­a­rate ac­ci­dent Tues­day, a coal mine tun­nel in northeastern Liaon­ing prov­ince col­lapsed, leav­ing four min­ers dead, Xin­hua said, cit­ing lo­cal au­thor­i­ties. Three other men man­aged to es­cape from the shaft owned by the Caitun Coal Mine in Benxi City.

The state-con­trolled coal mine was un­der ren­o­va­tion when the ac­ci­dent hap­pened. The pro­vin­cial coal mine safety depart­ment has set up a work­ing group to in­ves­ti­gate the ac­ci­dent.

China's coal mines are the world's dead­li­est, with thou­sands of min­ers killed ev­ery year. Mas­sive de­mand for coal in­duces many pro­duc­ers to cut cor­ners and side­step reg­u­la­tions, al­though au­thor­i­ties have been able to re­duce fa­tal­i­ties con­sid­er­ably through im­proved safety and the clo­sure of small, of­ten un­li­censed mines. -Ap

MUM­BAI: French First Lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy (R) to­gether with Min­is­ter Michele Al­liotMarie Min­is­ter for Ecol­ogy and sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment, Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet and Min­is­ter for Econ­omy Chris­tine La­garde lis­ten to French Pres­i­dent. -Ap

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