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Coal mine death toll expected to reach 151
By Fu Jing (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-11-30 05:58

 Bad safety record

A major source of the fuel firing China's economy, Heilongjiang is famous for coal mining. To boost the industry, the Heilongjiang Longmei Mining (Group) Co Ltd, a conglomerate of four major State-owned coal mining companies, was launched this year in Harbin, the provincial capital. The new group is composed of Jixi, Hegang, Shuangyashan and Qitaihe coal companies, all giants of the province's coal industry.

However, mine safety has shown no sign of improvement. Last year, an average of 18 miners died every day in the nation's mines. This year the situation is worsening as fatal disasters pile up one after another.

The involvement of local government officials in the coal mining industry, despite orders from the central government to cut ties, is a continuing problem.

In Qitaihe, a local coal mine safety chief was found to have invested in an illegal small coal mine in which 18 miners died this March.

"If this kind of situation continues, sad stories will increase," said a local taxi driver. "The sadness not only haunts the city today, what has happened will continue to haunt us for years to come."


(China Daily 11/30/2005 page1)

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