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Vice premier urges more effort on colliery gas control
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China should make every effort to reduce and avoid colliery gas accidents, in a bid to improve coal mine production condition, said Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang.

Zhang made the remarks in Shenyang, Liaoning Province, at a meeting held on Tuesday and Wednesday by the safe production commission under the State Council, or the Cabinet, saying gas control was crucial to ensure production safety.

He praised local government efforts in colliery gas control, which remarkably reduced the accidents caused by gas blasts and leakages, as well as fatalities.

In the meantime, he ordered governments at all levels to further enhance monitoring, shoulder more responsibility, increase investment, and rely on scientific technologies, in order to upgrade production.

Governmental departments and coal mines should devote themselves to identifying and avoiding potential risks, mapping out or perfecting regulations and rules on accident controls.

Stricter monitoring and management of production were also emphasized. The government should penalize coal mine managers or shut mines where severe colliery gas problems are identified, said Zhang.

Zhang visited Daxing coal mine of the Tiefa Coal Industry Group Corp. Ltd., in Liaoning Province, before the meeting.

His comments followed a coal mine accident in Wujiu Coal Mine in north China's Shanxi Province on July 5, which had claimed 21 lives as of Monday.

Preliminary analysis showed the accident was likely to be led by a gas blast or spontaneous ignition.

The death toll for each million tonnes of coal produced fell to1.05 in the first half of 2008 from 1.485 for 2007 and 3.08 for 2005. The decline mainly reflected better gas control, State Administration of Work Safety head Wang Jun told a national conference on colliery gas control on Tuesday.

In the first half this year, 81 gas-related accidents were reported nationwide, down 43 percent from the same period last year, claiming 294 lives, a drop of 48.3 percent. Gas-induced blasts had been a major cause of coal mine fatalities, said Wang.

(Xinhua News Agency July 9, 2008)

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