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Mine Explosions Kill 58 in Shanxi
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Fifty-eight mine workers have died within six days in a series of unrelated gas explosions at mines that the government had already slated for closure in north China's Shanxi Province.

The most recent explosion came on Sunday, when 14 miners died in Xiangyu Mine in the city of Jincheng. Six of the dead were from Shanxi and eight were from other provinces, said Lu Xishan, the local director of worker safety.

In the city of Datong, another 14 workers are still buried in the Daquanwan Mine after gas blast on Saturday.

Witnesses there said rescue efforts have been fruitless and are difficult because there is no electricity at the mine.

Another explosion on Thursday killed 33 miners at the Podi Mine in Jiaocheng County.

And the death toll of a Wednesday explosion at Qingyu Mine in Yuxian County has hit 11. Rescue work continued, officials said.

"Those mines have all been on the government's list to stop production because of their small capacities and flawed safety measures," said Zhao Gejin, an official with State Administration of Coal Mine Safety Supervision. "But coal prices have risen recently, so the mine owners turned deaf ears to government orders.''

Zhao said the average price of coal per ton has risen by 50 yuan (US$6) since cold weather moved into the region.

Shanxi is not the only place plagued by mining woes. A dozen miners have been trapped in Zhangqiu since Saturday as water flooded the Langgou Mine in east China's Shandong Province.

Rescue work is continuing there, and officials refused to detail the accident or possible death toll.

(China Daily November 20, 2001)

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