20 Die in Coal Mine Plunge

Twenty workers were killed in China’s latest mining accident in Gansu. This comes just after another one of the deadliest coal mine blasts in nearly three years. AP reports:

A steel cable broke as it was pulling two carriages at a coal mine in northwest China on Tuesday, killing 20 workers in the country’s latest mining accident.

The state-run China News Service said 34 miners were riding in the carriages when the cable broke, overturning the carriages in the mine in Baiyin city in Gansu province. It said 14 miners were rescued.

Safety improvements have reduced deaths in recent years, but safety rules are often ignored and accidents are still common.

According to AFP, officials who oversee the mine refused to comment. China’s mines remain the deadliest in the world:

Officials at the Baiyin city work safety administration, which oversees the Qusheng mine, refused to comment when contacted by AFP.

But its mines are among the deadliest in the world because of lax regulation, corruption and inefficiency. Accidents are common because safety is often neglected by bosses seeking quick profits.

According to the latest official figures, 1,973 people died in coal mining accidents in China in 2011, a 19 percent fall on the previous year.

But labour rights groups say the actual death toll is likely to be much higher, partly due to under-reporting of accidents as mine bosses seek to limit their economic losses and avoid punishment.

Aside from the accident in Gansu, China Daily reports a total of 22 miners trapped after three separate accidents:

Eleven people were trapped after a fire at Longshan Coal Mine in Shuangyashan, Heilongjiang province, on Saturday morning. Residents reported the accident to authorities on Sunday.

Another five miners were trapped when a ceiling collapsed at a mine in Zibo, Shandong province, on Sunday.

Meanwhile, a gas explosion injured 13 miners at a coal mine in Anshun, Guizhou province, on Sunday night.

Compared with the same period last year, 36 fewer accidents occurred and 142 fewer miners were killed.

Read more about mine safety in China, via CDT.


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