Coal mine accident kills 21: At least 21 miners were killed and four are missing after a coal mine accident in southern China.
A coal mine accident in China killed at least 21 miners on Tuesday and at least four are still missing, underscoring the perilous nature of China’s coal industry—the deadliest in the world.
The mine disaster took place at a facility in Guizhou Province, located in the country’s south. Some 58 miners were able to escape unscathed from the accident, state media reported.
The Xinhua News Agency, a Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece, said that several coal mine officials were arrested after the accident, which involved an “outburst of coal and gas.”
Dang Feng, the head of the Machang Coal Mine, said technical and security principals, Zhang Changhe and Liu Minyu, were fired and are now in police custody, the news agency reported.
At the same time, a search was ongoing for 18 miners who went missing in a mine in Heilongjiang Province, located in northern China, after mud and rock poured into the shaft, according to Xinhua.
At least 1,973 people died in coal mine-related accidents in China in 2011, according to official statistics cited by the AFP news agency. Labor rights groups have said that the figure is most likely much higher because Communist Party officials and mine bosses try to obfuscate and under-report the real figures to avoid punishment.
Corruption, poor working conditions, and bad regulation are the primary reasons for the accidents, according to AFP.
China is also the world’s largest consumer of coal, but critics say that the country’s obsession with the energy source is causing dire environmental consequences.
On Tuesday, it was reported that a shower of black powder fell from the sky on Monday near Banshan National Forest Park in Hangzhou, located in eastern China. A thick layer of ash covered the hair of people walking outside, trees, and the ground.
“Touch your hair, and your hands turn black too. Some locals did not close their windows last night, and their homes suffered too. Where is this mysterious coal dust coming from? The environmental protection agency has not provided any answers,” one blogger from Hangzhou said.
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