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China bosses sent down mines in new safety drill
Updated: 2005-11-07 15:29

China has ordered pit managers to accompany miners underground on every shift in a new bid to improve safety, state media said on Monday.

Rescuers carry the body of a dead miner at a coal mine in Yuanping City, North China's Shanxi Province October 31, 2005. A gas explosion killed 15 miners. [newsphoto]

Their job would be to discover any potential dangers before they lead to an accident, the Beijing News said a day after a gas explosion killed 15 workers in the northern province of Shanxi.

More than 2,700 Chinese miners lost their lives in the first half of this year in the world's deadliest coal mining industry as many pits rushed to feed the world's seventh-largest economy with little regard to safety.

Coal accounts for about three-quarters of China's energy. The industry has become so profitable as the economy booms that many government officials have bought stakes in coal mines.

"It must be guaranteed that at least one member of the management is on the spot on every shift and they should come and go with workers together," the Beijing News said, quoting a circular by the national work safety watchdog.

Xinhua news agency said last week that 4,578 officials had reported investment in coal mines, totaling 653 million yuan, after the state declared a crackdown on a practice which some say breeds collusion between management and local government.

The worst accident this year was a mine explosion in February in the northeastern province of Liaoning, killing 212 miners. A pit flood killed 123 workers in southern Guangdong in August.

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