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China Earmarks 32 Billion Yuan for Coalmine Safety

The Chinese government has earmarked more than 32 billion Yuan (US$4 billion) to improve coalmine safety in the country, according to a report by China News Service on Friday.

An official from the National Development and Reform Commission said that the fund would be used for 750 projects in 22 provinces throughout the country.

It is reported that the scheme was part of the efforts to improve coalmine safety amid rising accidents in the industry. Experts recommend that the focus should be on improving coal production systems including ventilation, gas pumping, safety supervision, fire fighting and power supply and transportation.

Coalmine experts said that China needs some 50 billion Yuan (US$6.2 billion), to improve coalmine production safety.

Li Yizhong, Minister of the General Administration of Work Safety, said that 3804 people died in coalmine accidents in the first eight months of this year; an increase of 8.5 percent compared to the previous year. China saw 6027 deaths in coalmine accidents in 2004.

The Chinese government has launched a nationwide campaign to curb production accidents, especially in coalmines. More than 8600 coalmines have been ordered to shut down until they have improved their safety mechanisms to meet the national standard and get a license from the government. 

(CRI September 16, 2005)

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