Sunday 2 August 2015
China's coal mines - getting less dangerous
For a long time China has had the unenviable record of running the world's most dangerous coal mines, but at least things are not as bad as they used to be. Last year the total number of miners killed fell below 1,000 for the first time. 931 is still a lot, but it is many fewer than the 7,000 recorded in 2002.
China produces about half of the worlds's coal, and the director of the State Administration of Work Safety acknowledged it still faces 'grave and complicated challenges in coal mine work safety.'
Safety campaigns and better monitoring of methane gas have played their part in reducing the death toll, though perhaps the most important factor has been the closing of small mines which often had the worst records.
But there is concern that the number of casualties may be under-reported. Any accident that kills more than 30 miners automatically becomes the subject of a government inquiry. Last year, 14 managers and officials in Jilin province were gaoled for concealing the deaths of 8 miners so that the death toll in an accident in 2013 appeared to be 28 not 36.
See also my posts of Feb 22, March 10 and 19 Nov, 2009, and 16 Jan and 14 April, 2010.