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Efforts pledged to prevent mining accidents

National administration responds with firm actions following recent incidents

By JIANG CHENGLONG | China Daily | Updated: 2024-02-02 08:49
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China on Thursday pledged more stringent efforts to prevent major safety accidents in the mining sector, after a spate of serious mining production safety accidents across the nation since 2023, especially in the past two months.

Officials at the National Mine Safety Administration made the remarks at a news conference held by the State Council Information Office on Thursday, in response to the recent serious accidents.

In November, there was a major gas explosion at a coal mine in Heilongjiang province. In December in the same province, there was an underground mine cart accident. Together, they resulted in 23 deaths and 13 injuries.

Last month, a coal and gas outburst accident happened in a coal mine in Henan province, causing 16 fatalities.

In mid-January, the Work Safety Commission of the State Council announced a series of "firm measures" to prevent serious production safety accidents in the mining sector.

Zhang Ruiting, deputy head of the National Mine Safety Administration, said these measures primarily target the main problems exposed in recent accidents, including the failure to implement safety responsibilities, inadequate investigation and rectification of hidden dangers, and insufficient safety awareness among workers.

He emphasized these measures require holding negligent individuals accountable and further clarifying the safety responsibilities of the actual controllers of enterprises, regulatory personnel and local governments.

Cracking down on illegal production and construction is another key focus for the next stage, with officials believing this is behind many serious accidents.

Shi Baozhong, head of coal mine safety supervision at the NMSA, said that last year safety supervision and inspection departments at various levels identified more than 14,000 major hidden dangers, including 2,269 related to coal mines.

He noted the recent major mining accidents have revealed that there is still a significant number of major hidden dangers, and illegal production activities are still frequent.

Over the next three years, governments at all levels will continue to crack down on all types of unlawful production and construction activities, especially those involving covert and secret mining, and dismantling or destroying monitoring equipment, he said.

China has also declared a more vigorous campaign against concealing mine accidents.

Zhao Suqi, director for accident investigation at the NMSA, said mining enterprises must install video surveillance at wellheads and main work sites, and all personnel entering the mines must carry identification cards to track their movements underground.

Mining enterprises and relevant departments must promptly report accident information.

"Those who fail to submit accident information in a timely manner and thus cause serious consequences will be held accountable, and suspects involved in criminal activities will be transferred to judicial authorities for prosecution," he said.

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