Fewer people died in China's often deadly mines in the first seven months of 2008 compared with the same period last year, a safety official said on Saturday, but warned that the situation remained serious. The death toll was 1,631 in the January to July period, a fall of 24 percent, spokesman for the State Administration of Work Safety, Huang Yi, told a news conference.
"Of course, coal mining is still a dangerous activity in China. The safety situation remains serious," he said. "Although the number of accidents has dropped, there is still an effect on society."
China has the world's deadliest mining industry, a problem especially pronounced in the coal mining sector as mine owners push production beyond safety limits in the face of huge demand from a booming economy and soaring profits.