Hegang, China — MININGREVIEW.COM — 23 November 2009 – The death toll from China’s worst coal-mine disaster in almost two years rose to 104 as authorities criticised safety lapses and dismissed senior management of the pit in the country’s northeast.
Four miners remained trapped underground, the official Xinhua News Agency said yesterday. The explosion at the state-owned Xinxing mine in Heilongjiang on Saturday was because of negligence, initial investigations showed, Xinhua said today, citing Luo Lin, head of the State Administration of Work Safety.
Bloomberg News reports that the accident extends China’s record as the country with the world’s worst coal mine safety history, and may spur the government to order a second nationwide safety check in three months. A crackdown may close mines and tighten supply in the world’s biggest producer and user of coal.
“Mining safety is still a problem for all companies, whether they are smaller ones or state controlled, although the government is trying to improve safety standards,” Martin Wang, a coal analyst at Guotai Junan Securities, said in Hong Kong.
A total of 528 were working in the Xinxing mine in northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province when the blast occurred, the work safety administration said. A second accident occurred yesterday at a mine in Hunan province, killing 11, with 3 workers still missing, Xinhua News reported.
The death toll at the Xinxing mine is the highest since 105 were killed at the Xinyao pit in Shanxi in December 2007, the China Daily newspaper said. The accident showed “gaps in work safety and inadequacies in gas prevention and control measures,” Huang Yi, deputy chief of the State Administration of Coal Mine Safety, told CCTV the paper said.
The mine, owned by Heilongjiang Longmay Mining Holding Group Company, has an annual production capacity of 1.45 million tonnes and a high concentration of coal gas, the work safety administration said.
In the first half of this year, 1 175 people died in officially recorded coal mine accidents across China “’ a fall of 18.4% compared to last year, according to the State Administration of Coal Mine Safety.