Twenty-six people were killed and many others injured by an explosion in a
colliery and an oil tank blast in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region over the
weekend, Xinhua reported.
Temperatures at the mouth of the coal mine reached 1,000 C after the
underground explosion, which killed 14 miners instantly. Another six were burned
in the blast.
The coal mine explosion occurred at 2:35 am on Saturday in Dianchanggou Town,
Miquan, 40 kilometres from Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang.
Another three minor explosions followed the first one within three hours,
The coal mine is within the precinct of the Xinjiang Production and
Construction Corps (XPCC), a special organization which handles its own
administrative and judicial affairs within the reclamation areas under its
Huang Guoqiang, deputy director of the Administration of Work Safety of the
XPCC, was quoted by Xinhua as saying that the bodies of all 14 dead miners were
found in three hours of rescue work.
The cause of the explosion was last night still under investigation, but
preliminary results indicate it was a coal dust blast rather than a gas
explosion, as the mine was said to contain little gas, Xinhua reported.
Worked since 1958, the mine is privately owned after a restructuring from
The mine is designed to have an annual production capability of 96,000 tons
with an overall estimated reserve of 120,000 tons.
Oil tank blast
The evening after the colliery disaster 12 more people were killed when an
oil tank blew up in the Dushanzi district of Kramay, a renowned oil town in
The tank, which was still under construction at a China National Petroleum
Corporation (CNPC) plant, exploded at around 7:20 pm on Saturday evening.
Half of the 24 workers at the scene were killed, all the rest were injured,
but none suffered life-threatening injuries.
Upon completion, the 100,000-cubic-metre tank will be used to store crude
oil, imported via pipeline from Kazakhstan.
All the workers were from the Anhui Antisepsis Engineering Company. The
explosion occurred when they were painting anticorrosive materials on top of the
The explosion may have been triggered by a reaction from organic materials in
the paint, Sheng Shaokun, deputy director of the Administration of Work Safety
of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, was quoted by Xinhua as saying.
The oil tank is part of a 10 million-ton oil refining and million-ton
ethylene project initiated by CNPC in August last year and boasts a total
investment of 30 billion yuan (US$ 3.75 billion).
The project is a key part of the energy co-operation strategy between China
and Kazakhstan and one of the symbolic projects of the country's go-west
The whole project is expected to be completed by 2008.
Yesterday, local authorities ruled out the possibility of a second explosion
or serious damage to the local environment.
The blast will also not affect the normal operation of the China-Kazakhstan
oil pipeline, which runs through the Dushanzi area.