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Death Toll of Coal Mine Floodings Up 10% in First Five Months
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The death toll of coal mine flooding cases rose nearly 10 percent in the first five months of this year from a year earlier, the State Administration of Coal Mine Safety said Thursday.


The death toll of serious coal mine floodings, referring to cases each involving 10 deaths or more, grew 60 percent year on year, said the Administration.


The Administration's Director Zhao Tiechui told a national meeting on coal mine flooding prevention that flooding cases have become a serious problem next only to gas explosions in coal mines since last year.


"This indicates that some coal mines, especially small coal mines ignored the rules concerning flood prevention," Zhao said.


"Cases of illegal operation and unlicensed coal mining are quite serious," he noted.


On May 18, a coal mine flooding in Zuoyun County of north China's Shanxi Province left 56 miners trapped and feared dead.


Another coal mine flooding accident in the same county killed 20 miners on Dec. 28, 2005.


Director of the State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS) Li Yizhong said on Thursday China will shut down an additional 7,000 small coal mines to bring their total number below 10,000 before 2008.


Zhao Tiechui said earlier that township-run coal mines accounted for a higher ratio in the number of accidents in May this year.


The Administration urged all coal mines and relevant government departments to take serious measures to prevent coal mine flooding.


(Xinhua News Agency June 16, 2006)

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