Safety loopholes lead to mine blast in Dec.

Updated: 2008-01-03 07:26

BEIJING -- State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS) criticized the coal mine where a gas blast killed 19, saying it has major problems that caused the tragedy.

The Shunfa Coal Mine, in northeast China, over-reported its output capacity from 30,000 tonnes to 40,000 tonnes to evade government policies to shut down small collieries, said Li Yizhong, head of SAWS here on Wednesday at a meeting on safe production.

Li lashed out at the unqualified facilities in the coal mine that ignored safe mining requirements. "The ventilation system has major problems, and the gas monitoring system is in effect not working at all," said Li.

An initial investigation indicated the blast, which hit the colliery on December 29 last year, was possibly triggered by a high density of gas and dust in the shaft.

Shunfa Coal Mine insisted on mining operations after the essential production permits expired, and turned a deaf ear to orders from local authorities that demanded it to stop production on November 26 and December 13, said Li.

He urged enterprises in high-risk industries to address similar hidden troubles. By the end of 2007, more than five million hidden troubles were found in about three million enterprises and 94 percent of them had been treated.

A total of 19 miners trapped by a coal mine blast in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province were declared dead when two days of rescue operation ended Monday.

The mine's owner and legal representative were detained by local police.

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