Coal Mine Disasters in China Claim 37 Lives within Two Days

March 22, 2006 12:00 am Last Updated: March 22, 2006 12:00 am

TAIPEI- A series of coalmine explosions have been reported over the past few days in provinces including Heilongjiang, Inner Mongolia and Hunan, resulting in thirty-seven deaths and five missing. China's coalmines, known as the most dangerous places to work, take thousands of lives every year.

An explosion at the Taihe Coalmine in Qitaihe City, Heilongjiang Province was reported on noon March 13, by the Xinhua News Agency and China News Services. A total of 16 miners were working underground at the time. Seven survived the accident while the other nine were killed. Rescue attempts continued into the night but the cause of the accident has not yet been determined.

At the Rongsheng Coalmine, in Erdos City, Inner Mongolia, another gas explosion resulted in 17 fatalities and five missing.

Rongsheng Coalmine is a township-owned mine. It has a registered license, mining certificate, production permission certificate, and mining manger certificate, but it does not possess a safety production certificate.

In addition, a gas explosion was reported in the Gaoping Coalmine, located in Xiangmei Township, Yongxing County, Hunan Province. The Bureau of Coalmining Safety Supervision of Binzhou City, which found indications that the disaster was due to unsafe mining conditions in the Gaoping Coalmine, has temporarily suspended the mine's production permission. The Bureau withdrew the safety production certificate from the Gaoping Coalmine but still failed to prevent a gas explosion on March 12. All 11 trapped personnel were killed, including the mine manager, vice manager, safety inspector, gas inspector and seven workers.

Hu Jianquan, the head of Yongxing County Bureau of Coal Industry, said the Gaoping Coalmine has an annual coal production of 20,000 tons.