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11 Regions Fail to Meet Deadline on Unsafe Collieries
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Eleven Chinese regions, including Hebei and Jilin, have failed to meet the June 30 deadline set by the State Administration of Coal Mine Safety (SACMS) for them to act on unsafe collieries, SACMS head Zhao Tiechui said Monday.

Addressing a national video conference on coal mine safety, Zhao said Hebei, Jilin, Hubei, Fujian and Guizhou provinces had submitted plans for the shutdown of unsafe small mines in 2006 and 2007, but the number of the mines they plan to shutdown this year falls short of the SACMS quota.

Liaoning, Hunan, Yunnan, Shaanxi and Gansu provinces also submitted their plans for the shutdown of unsafe mines for the next two years, but did not name any mines to be shutdown this year. The shutdown of small unsafe mines is a major part of the Chinese government's efforts to improve the notorious safety records of the country's coal mining industry.

Small collieries supply one third of the country's coal, but they accounted for two-thirds of the accident death tolls, according to SACMS studies.

Following the closure of some 5,000 small mines in 2005, the government plans to shutdown 7,000 more by 2007, reducing the total number of small mines to around 10,000.

The plans submitted by the regions are far behind the national goal to solve the issue by 2007, Zhao said.

The committee for safe production under the State Council will soon issue orders to the 11 regions prodding them to submit complete plans for closing unsafe mines before July 15, he said.

(Xinhua News Agency July 4, 2006)

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