Over 50 People Killed in Two Coal Mine Explosions in China

November 29, 2006 Updated: November 29, 2006

On the afternoon of November 25, a gas explosion accident at Changyuan coal mine in Housuo Township of Fuyuan County, Yunnan Province resulted in 32 deaths and 28 injuries to date, according to Xinhua News Agency. According to initial investigation, this privately owned coal mine should not have been operating because its license was incomplete.

On the same day, Jixi Yuanhua coal mine in Heilongjiang Province exploded, resulting in 21 deaths and 6 missing coal miners. According to the initial analysis, a power outage underground caused gas to accumulate, and once the power came back, the workers were organized to discharge the gas without authorization. The gas discharge triggered the explosion.

China's coal mine disasters are commonplace. According to China National Security Manufacture Safety and Monitoring Bureau's data for 2005, by December 11, 2005, there were nearly 3,000 coal mine accidents in China in 2005 with a death toll of 5491, which is 206 more people than 2004. The Labor Rights and Interests organization claims that the actual death toll may be higher.

In 2005, China produced 1.78 billion tons of the 5 billion tons of coal produced worldwide, which is 35 percent of the world production. Yet, coal mine related deaths in China account for 80 percent of the world's. The death toll of coal miners in China for every 1 million tons of coal produced is 100 times more than the United States. It is 30 times more than South Africa and over 10 times more than India.