China will close another 30 percent of its existing small coal mines this year, reducing the total number to 15,000, according to top coal mine safety official Zhang Baoming.
China will also aim to cut the coal mine death toll and the number of major accidents by 10 percent, Zhang, director of the State Bureau for Supervising Coal Mine Safety, said at a national conference on coal mine safety Tuesday.
China recorded 556 coalmine accidents in the first quarter of this year, causing 994 deaths.
The two figures are 57.9 percent and 13 percent up from the same period last year, and a large number of the accidents occurred in township mines, especially in unlicensed small mines, he said.
Tens of thousands of small coalmines that failed to meet basic safety standards have been shut down after months of work by the government to reduce coalmine fatalities, said Zhang.
Since May 2001, China has shut down 12,257 small coalmines, including 1,284 State-owned mines, reducing the total number of small mines from 82,000 in 1997 to 23,000.
Another 8,000 small mines will be shut down by the end of the year, he added.
(People's Daily April 10, 2002)