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Illegal Mining Blamed for Fatal Shanxi Coal Mine Blast
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A lack of ventilation and high gas density caused by illegal mining resulted in the explosion that killed 28 people and left two missing in north China's Shanxi Province last week.


The blast occurred on the afternoon of May 5 at Pudeng Coal Mine in Puxian County of Linfen City. The mine had chronically inadequate ventilation due to its lack of a sound ventilation system, according to a report by China's State Administration of Coal Mine Safety on Friday.


Ventilators and gas monitors had not been installed in the 70-meter-long tunnel. When gas density accumulated, a fire triggered the explosion, said the report, which gave no indication of the cause of the fire.


The mine, with anĀ annual production capacity of less than 150,000 tons, had been ordered to stop production on April 29 for illegal mining and safety hazards, but operations continued on unproved coal beds.


The administration sources said the coal mine had two versions of the pit plans: one to show inspectors and the other for real production.


On the day when the accident happened, 125 miners were working underground, but regulations of the provincial work safety bureau stipulated that no more than 44 miners should work at one time in shafts.


Poor management was also blamed for the accident. Only 131 of the 329 miners have signed contract and of the 28 miners killed 26 had no contracts.


In March and April this year, another two coal mine accidents killed 28 people in Linfen.


(Xinhua News Agency May 12, 2007)


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