CHINA / National
Chinese coal mine fatalities down 20% in 2007
Updated: 2008-01-12 20:24
BEIJING -- China reported a 20.2 percent decrease in the number of fatalities caused by coal mine accidents in 2007.
The country's safety watchdog said Saturday that 3,786 people were killed in coal mine accidents last year.
"It is the second consecutive year for the country to report a 20-percent fall in coal mine accident fatalities," Li Yizhong, head of the State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS), said at a national work safety meeting in Beijing.
China has been shutting down coal mines with small capacities and pouring more investment into safety facilities to improve the colliery safety record.
Small coal mines accounted for one third of all the coal mines in China, but caused two thirds of the total deaths every year, according to sources with the SAWS.
The country closed 11,155 small coal mines since it began to shut down small collieries in the second half of 2005, the meeting disclosed
In the same period, the central government had arranged nine billion yuan (1.23 billion U.S. dollars) in treasury bonds to upgrade safety technologies and equipments at major state-owned coal mines, and also mobilized an investment of 64.1 billion yuan from local governments and enterprises.
The meeting, which kicked off on Friday, said a day earlier that 101,480 people died in workplace and transportation accidents in 2007, down 10.1 percent year-on-year, with road-related accidents down 8.7 percent and railway-related accidents down 45.1 percent.
"The production safety situation is improving nationwide, but tasks ahead remains arduous this year," Li said on Friday.