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China mines to beef up safety after Chile rescue: official

by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Oct 21, 2010
China will step up implementation of underground safety systems to help miners survive accidents, a top official has said, after the Chile mine rescue saga highlighted China's safety shortcomings.

China will "speed up the provision of underground emergency shelters and refuge chambers, systems for locating and communicating with underground workers, and monitoring and control systems," Luo Lin was quoted saying.

Luo, head of the State Administration of Work Safety, made the comments on Tuesday, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

He said mines would have to make the improvements by a "prescribed deadline", but the report mentioned no timetable or further details.

The China Daily said Thursday that an existing order from Luo's administration already requires that mines have "underground escape capsules and other emergency facilities by 2015".

China's mines are notorious for being among the deadliest in the world, with more than 2,600 miners killed in job-related accidents last year, according to official data -- or about seven people a day.

Independent labour groups say the actual number of deaths is probably much higher.

Authorities have repeatedly vowed to shut dangerous mines and improve safety, but accidents continue with regularity as mines rush to pump out the coal on which China relies for about 70 percent of its energy.

In the latest accident 37 people were killed in what authorities have called a "coal and gas outburst" in a mine in central China's Henan province on Saturday.

It was the first major accident in China since the dramatic rescue of 33 miners trapped for more than two months in Chile.

Their rescue prompted joy in Chile but new criticism in China over its dangerous mines, and renewed official promises to address safety woes.

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China mine death toll hits 31 as anger rises over rescue
Beijing (AFP) Oct 18, 2010
The death toll from a coal mine blast in China rose to 31 on Monday, the government said, as hopes faded for six miners still trapped and anger grew among web users wishing for a Chile-style rescue. Saturday's accident in the central province of Henan was the first major incident in China's notoriously dangerous mines since the dramatic rescue last week of 33 miners trapped for more than two ... read more

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