China to ban small coal mines for improving pit safety record
Updated: 2008-08-15 17:08

China is to ban the building of coal mines with high gas danger whose annual production capacity would be below 300,000 tons, according to a new guideline for coal mine safety, the State Administration of Work Safety told Xinhua on Thursday.

The country plans to cut the death toll from coal mine gas blasts by at least 20 percent by 2010, compared with the 2007 figures, according to the coal mine safety guideline issued by the work safety commission of the State Council, or the Cabinet.

Coal mine accidents killed 3,770 people last year, among whom 1,084 people died from gas blasts, statistics from the administration showed.

The guideline orders large-scale coal mines to set up their own rescue teams, while smaller mines must work with neighbouring rescue teams to guarantee prompt rescue in case of any accident.

It also urged newly-built coal mines to build underground emergency shelters for miners, providing food, water, oxygen, communication facilities and other necessities.

The government has vowed to close more than 4,000 small coal mines to reduce their total number to less than 10,000 by 2010 in a bid to improve industry safety.

China has about 16,000 coal mines, 90 percent of which are classified as small ones, and their safety record is far worse than that of large mines.

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