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41 Managers, Officials Punished for Mine Accidents
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A total of 41 coal mine managers and government officials from central China's Henan Province have either been sacked or demoted following two coal mine accidents that claimed 26 lives early this year, the provincial bureau of coal mine safety said on Monday.

Su Renlu, executive of Malingshan Coal Company, and Zhang Jianhai, executive of Daliushan Coal Company, were dismissed from their posts, according to a notice from the State Administration of Coal Mine Safety.

Malingshan Coal Company was fined 15 million yuan (US$1.92 million), while the Daliushan Coal Company was fined 17.3 million yuan (US$2.21 million), according to the notice.

These are reportedly the highest fines ever on local coal mine companies.

It said criminal proceedings would be launched against the two executives, among dozens of other managers and work safety staff.

A gas explosion on February 10 killed 15 miners at Malingshan Coal Company, a subsidiary of the Zhengzhou Coal Group. The company, with an annual production capacity of 300,000 tons, had no work safety and mining certificates.

Another 11 miners died in a gas explosion on April 26 at a coal pit run by Daliushan Coal Company in Jiaxian County.

Around 10 local government officials including the deputy head of the county were demoted or given warnings for loose work safety supervision.

But the notice did not specify how they were involved.

China has defined specific new punishments for government officials to tackle production safety problems.

Government officials will face warnings, demotions, dismissal and prosecution for production safety transgressions, according to rules issued in November.

The interim rules, jointly issued by China's State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS) and the Ministry of Supervision, define 25 types of punishable acts by government officials and 18 types by executives of state-owned businesses, ranging from approving projects that do not meet safety requirements, failure to address unsafe production activities and covering up production accidents, to executives allowing their businesses to continue to operate after their licenses have been revoked or they have been ordered to stop production.

(Xinhua News Agency December 26, 2006)

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