North China's Shanxi Province, the country's biggest coal
producing base, will close 900 more coal mines by June 2008 amid
concerns over safety, environmental protection and resource
Local authorities have listed 500 coal mines and the number
could climb to 1,100 by June 2008, according to a circular issued
by the Shanxi provincial government recently. The measure is aimed
at reducing the number of coal mines to 2,500 by 2010, the circular
Currently, the province has about 3,500 coal mines, a spokesman
with the local coal industry authorities said on Tuesday. From July
last year and this June, Shanxi shut down 1,156 coal mines, the
Shanxi, whose coal output accounts about one third of the
country's total, has seen numerous coal mine accidents in recent
The latest accident, a gas blast on Sunday at the Jiaojiazhai
Coal Mine of Xuangang Company under Datong Coal Mine Group in
Xinzhou, a central-north city of the province, killed 19 miners and
28 miners remain missing.
Initial investigations suggest that gas accumulated and exploded
after exhaust fans stopped working due to a power failure.
Unsafe small coal mines account for two-thirds of the total
fatalities in mining accidents, government figures show. The huge
drain on natural resources and grave harm to the environment caused
by unsafe and unclean small mines have also made the closures more
The national coal mine safety watchdog has called for small
mines with an annual output of below 30,000 tons to be shut down by
the end of this year.
This year, 2,652 small mines will be sealed off in the country,
and another 2,209 will be shut down next year.
(Xinhua News Agency November 8, 2006)