China coal min­ing ac­ci­dent claims 21

87 peo­ple work­ing un­der­ground at the time in Shaanxi prov­ince

The Star Malaysia - - Star Asean Plus -

Bei­jing: The death toll in a coal mine roof col­lapse in north­ern China has risen to 21 after res­cuers found two more min­ers dead, state me­dia re­ported.

A to­tal of 87 peo­ple were work­ing un­der­ground in the Shaanxi prov­ince mine at the time of the ac­ci­dent on Satur­day af­ter­noon, ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cial news agency Xin­hua, cit­ing lo­cal au­thor­i­ties.

Res­cuers had been search­ing for two re­main­ing trapped min­ers but found them dead yes­ter­day morn­ing, Xin­hua re­ported.

An­other 66 min­ers were safely evac­u­ated from the mine.

The cause of the ac­ci­dent at the site, run by pri­vately owned Baiji Min­ing, is still un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Pri­vate coal mines in China typ­i­cally take fewer safety pre­cau­tions than larger state-owned mines.

In­for­ma­tion about the ac­ci­dent can­not be dis­closed, a driver at the com­pany said when he an­swered Baiji’s reg­is­tered phone num­ber.

The mine is a small scale op­er­a­tion, he said, de­clin­ing to give his name.

Deadly min­ing ac­ci­dents are com­mon in China, where the in­dus­try has a poor safety record de­spite ef­forts to im­prove coal pro- duc­tion con­di­tions and crack down on il­le­gal mines.

In De­cem­ber last year, seven min­ers were killed and three oth­ers in­jured in an ac­ci­dent at a coal mine in China’s south­west.

In Oc­to­ber, 21 min­ers died in east­ern Shan­dong prov­ince after pres­sure in­side a mine caused rocks to frac­ture and break, block­ing the tun­nel and trap­ping work­ers. Only one miner was res­cued alive.

Ac­cord­ing to China’s Na­tional Coal Mine Safety Ad­min­is­tra­tion, the coun­try saw 375 coal min­ing re­lated deaths in 2017, down 28.7% year-on-year.

But de­spite im­prove­ments, “the sit­u­a­tion of coal mine safety pro­duc­tion is still grim,” the bureau said in a state­ment fol­low­ing a coal mine safety con­fer­ence last Jan­uary.

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