Home>News Center>China

China's coal mine giants to spearhead pit safety
By Guan Xiaofeng (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-07-01 01:34

Several giant coal mine conglomerates are to be created over the next three to five years to better compete on the international market and improve mine safety.

Coal miners cycle home after work at a coal mine in Anhui Province, June 20, 2005. [newsphoto]
Large enterprises - each with annual production of more than 100 million tons - will be encouraged to take over smaller mines through mergers and acquisitions.

It is hoped these conglomerates will use resources more efficiently and allow for better regulation and standardization.

Called the State Council's Guidelines on Promoting the Healthy Development of the Coal Industry ?the new policy was released on the official website of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

The document lays down clear guidelines on safety:

  • Mines that fail to reach safety or environmental standards will be closed.
  • Mine owners should buy accident insurance for all miners.
  • Miners should not be underground for more than eight hours daily of which a maximum of six hours can be spent at work.
  • Miners should be given protective equipment before going underground.

In a related development, the first 200 safety supervisors "all from North China's Shanxi Province" received their letters of appointment in Beijing yesterday.

A total of 100,000 experienced coal miners will be chosen nationwide to oversee their work mates, under an initiative from the All-China Federation of Trade Unions and the State Administration of Coal Mine Safety.

Their main mission is to ensure safety, and tasks include stopping illegal operations; reporting hidden dangers; and evacuating miners when danger seems imminent.

"The present coal mine safety situation is very serious," said Zhang Junjiu, vice-chairman of the federation. During the four months from last October to February, three catastrophic accidents happened with each killing more than 100 people." Zhang said safety supervisors will be chosen from front-line coal miners with vast experience and a strong sense of responsibility. The 100,00 supervisors are expected to take up their posts in a year's time.

The government has also allocated more than 400 million yuan (US$36 million) to some major coal mines to help them upgrade safety facilities.

An NDRC official said that the subsidy will be spent on ventilation, monitoring and fire-extinguishing systems for the mines.

The central government plans to allocate 3 billion yuan (US$360 million) this year to help major State-owned coal mines upgrade safety.

Including the money provided by local governments and coal enterprises, total spending on mine safety will reach 15 billion yuan (US$1.8 billion) this year.

China is heavily reliant on coal for energy, making up 70 per cent of total consumption.

Last year, the country was the world's leading coal producer with an output of 1.956 billion tons, about 40 per cent of the global total.

The exact number of mines is unknown because there are many illegal operations. But the number of registered mines has been put at more than 20,000, while the known number of miners is 6 million to 8 million. Staff standards in private mines are much worse than in government mines

Special police detachment established in Xi'an
Panda cubs doing well in Wolong
Suspect arrested in Taiwan
  Today's Top News     Top China News

Taiwan's KMT Party to elect new leader Saturday



'No trouble brewing,' beer industry insists



Critics see security threat in Unocal bid



DPRK: Nuke-free peninsula our goal



Workplace death toll set to soar in China



No foreign controlling stakes in steel firms


  No foreign controlling stakes in steel firms
  China-made telescopes race to space
  'No trouble brewing,' beer industry insists
  HK investors cautious on mainland homes
  Law in pipeline to ban money laundering
  Overseas students test their Chinese abilities
  Go to Another Section  
  Story Tools  
  Related Stories  
China wants to cut coal miners' work day
Gold mine collapse kills two in central China
Death toll from mine blast in Hebei rises to 10
China closes largest failing strip mine
33 miners killed in three blasts
Rescuers rush to save miners
Twelve trapped in E. China coal mine accident
  News Talk  
  It is time to prepare for Beijing - 2008