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Shanxi to Punish Illegal Coal Mining More Severely

Illegally-operated coalmines will be fined 1 million yuan (US$120,481) for each death caused by accidents in China's major coal-producing province of Shanxi.
The move aims to help reduce coalmine disasters in the province, according to Shanxi provincial government.
Shanxi spearheaded a policy to increase the compensation for each miner killed working to 200,000 yuan (US$24,691) last year, and has been imitated by many other places in the country.
In the first seven months, Shanxi witnessed 90 coalmine accidents, which claimed a total of 316 lives.
Of the accidents, the six deadliest occurred at illegally-operated coalmines, claiming 183 lives.
The province has also vowed to improve punishment for officials who fail to ensure coalmine production safety.
Township officials found responsible will be removed from posts if two illegally-owned coal mines are identified in their town. The top official and those responsible will be dismissed if a deadly accident occurs at an illegally-managed mine.
Shanxi has closed more than 6,000 small coal mines over the past five years. The province plans to cut the number from 3,800 to approximately 2,000 in five years.
The province will begin this year to phase out small mines with annual production below 90,000 tons and will no longer approve the operation of new mines with less than 300,000 tons of annual production.
China, the world's largest coal producer, accounts for one-third of the world's total coal production. The fossil fuel accounts for two-thirds of the country's energy consumption.

(Xinhua News Agency August 28, 2005)



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