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Xinjiang mine disaster blamed on owner's greed
By Guan Xiaofeng in Beijing and´╝čAheng Caixiong in Guangzhou (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-07-16 07:12

A gas monitor's alarm at the coal mine where 83 miners were killed on Monday was ignored for three hours before the natural gas build-up exploded, a State official said on Friday.

What's more, Li Yizhong, director of the State Administration of Work Safety, told a national work safety forum in Beijing that the Shenlong Coal Mine in Fukang, the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, did not even have a ventilation shaft.

The monitor showed that the gas density in the tunnel had risen to four times higher than the level that set off the alarm, Li said. But no one paid attention, and miners went underground without taking any safety measures.

"In the final analysis, the tragedy was due to the mine owner's being blinded by profits and trifling with workers' lives," Li said.

The investigation showed that the privately owned coal mine had serious ventilation problems and had no safe production licence.

In January, the Xinjiang Administration of Coal Mine Safety rejected the mine's application for a licence after detecting 14 safety violations.

Even so, the mine continued to operate and yielded 180,000 tons of coal in the first six months of the year when its designed production capacity called for only 30,000 tons during the entire year.

Li promised that safety investigators will issue their report in three months and bring those who should be blamed to justice.
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