The government has asked all major state-owned coal mines to
conduct thorough probes for hidden safety risks to prevent fatal
accidents and warned officials that those found guilty of
negligence or dereliction of duty face severe punishment.
Head of the State Administration of Work Safety Li Yizhong said
yesterday that coal mine safety was the top priority in the
country's fight to prevent fatal accidents.
The move comes after an accident in a Liaoning coal mine on Saturday killed 22
people. Seven others are still missing.
During an online interview with netizens, Li reiterated that
this year China would close 10,000 small coal mines, most of which
are illegal or unsafe, to prevent major accidents.
Carelessness and lack of preventive measures are to blame for
Saturday's accident at Laohutai in northeast China's Liaoning
Province, he said.
As a key state-owned coal mine, Laohutai or "tiger's platform"
in Fushun City has many unused underground pits. And it has taken
many effective measures to prevent accidents, such as gas
explosions and fires, there.
"But since the coal mine had never been flooded, no preventive
measures were taken against that hidden threat," he said.
Fifty-three miners were working on a platform of the Laohutai
Coal Mine on Saturday when a sudden rush of water submerged it in
Twenty-four of the miners were evacuated. But the others were
trapped inside the mine.
"The accident could have been averted," he said, "if the mine
knew about the conditions in the unused pit and taken measures to
The accident has spurred the administration to conduct thorough
investigation into possible dangers, especially unused pits. The
administration and coal mine supervisors will check the key
Last year, the administration closed more than 8,000 illegal and
unsafe coal mines, but safety remains a serious problem, he
(China Daily March 14, 2007)