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Coal Mine Safety Fund Begun

The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and State Administration of Production Safety announced on Monday that they have appropriated the first 50.2 million yuan (US$6.1 million) of treasury bond funds for upgrading coal mine safety.

The money will be used to establish a gas supervision and control system in 104 coal mines, said an official from the NDRC, costing 167.3 million yuan (US$20.2 million).

Local governments will provide 12.6 million yuan (US$1.5 million) of this, and private businesses 104.4 million yuan (US$12.6 million).

An estimated 15 billion yuan (US$1.8 billion) will be spent this year to improve safety in China's coal mines, among the deadliest in the world with an annual toll of over 6,000 lives in recent years.

Three billion yuan (US$362 million) will come from treasury bonds and budget funds, and local government should use fiscal funds to help establish safety infrastructures of local coal mines, the NDRC said.

According to the official, the standard security fee charged per ton of coal will be increased from the current 2-10 yuan (US$0.2-1.2) to a maximum of 15 yuan (US$1.8).

Local governments at all levels have been asked to list funds for coal mine gas prevention and control as a special item in their budgets and ensure funds are available at the same time as central funds.

(Xinhua News Agency May 10, 2005)

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