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Target Set to Cut Coal Mine Death Toll

China has set the target of lowering the death toll in coal mine accidents from 7,000 a year at present to 5,000 by 2007.

Wang Xianzheng, director of the State Administration of Production Safety, said the cut represents a drop of 30 percent.

Coal mine accidents claimed the lives of 4,620 people in the first nine months this year, the administration announced last month.

The director called for efforts to reduce the average death toll of four people in producing one million tons of coal to three and the number of major fatal disasters each involving deaths of 10 miners or more from 60 a year to around 40 by 2007.

There are around 3,200 state-run mines across the country and 22,000 mines run by townships and private operators.

The director said 80 percent of the large and medium-sized mines and half of the small ones should be up to official safety requirements by 2007.

According to statistics released by the administration on coal mine accidents, during the first three quarters of this year, small coal mines, particularly private ones, were responsible for 70 percent of the major coal mine accidents each involving deaths of 10 miners or more.

Operators of small coal mines usually failed to adopt safety measures.

(Xinhua News Agency November 3, 2003)

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