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Hebei to Conduct Mine Safety Overhaul
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A string of deadly coal mine accidents in north China's Hebei Province over the past three weeks have once again put mine safety overhaul atop the local government's agenda.

The provincial government said on Tuesday it will carry out a thorough safety checkup and will further probe into the recent accidents that have claimed at least 25 lives in total.

"Those who are held responsible for the accidents will be severely punished, and measures have to be taken to avoid similar tragedies in the future," said a press release issued by the provincial work safety supervision bureau on Tuesday.

Three miners were killed and three others missing when a gunpowder explosion occurred at Heichaigou Mine in Weixian County of Zhangjiakou City on Monday evening.

The disaster came just four days after five miners were gassed to death by carbon monoxide at Xinglongxin colliery in Xiahuayuan District of the same city, according to the provincial work safety supervision bureau.

Three weeks ago on July 24, a deadly blast at Shuidong colliery in Weixian County claimed 17 lives.

In the current round of safety overhaul, the Hebei provincial government said it would tighten management of explosives and combustible pits, and would also further restructure the mining industry by merging small mines into bigger ones to improve productivity as well as safety.

(Xinhua News Agency August 16, 2006)

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