Starting from January 1 next year, all Chinese coal mines should deposit a certain amount of money as safety guarantee and emergency funds in case of accidents.
This is a new rule set by China's safety watchdog -- the State Administration of Work Safety -- in the hope of improving work safety at the country's accident-prone coal mines.
Mines with an annual production of 30,000 tons or less should deposit 600,000 to 1 million yuan (US$74,000 to 123,000), said sources with the State Administration of Work Safety.
Those mines producing 30,000 to 90,000 tons of coal every year are asked to put 1.5 million to 2 million yuan in their safety account, said the sources, adding that the ceiling of such "safety deposits" is six million yuan (US$740,000).
The deposited money will be used to handle safety accidents, for purposes like paying compensations to the victims' families in case the mine bosses fail to take up the responsibility within a required duration, said the administration.
For coal mines with no accidents in a whole year, the deposits would remain in the account and the mine owners need not make new savings for the following year.
All coal mines across the country are subject to this new measure, which aims at strengthening the sense of safety at the mines, the administration added.
Coal is a major energy resource in China, making up 67 percent of the country's total consumption of primary energy resources.
In recent years, the Chinese government has adopted a series of regulations and measures to improve coal mine safety, but the situation remains grave.
(Xinhua News Agency December 26, 2005)