After one of the deadliest mine accidents in almost three years and another mining accident in Gansu resulting in 20 deaths, the Voice of America reports at least 18 people have died and 5 are missing in China’s most recent mining accident:
The Xinhua news agency reported that there were 28 workers underground Saturday in the state-owned Xiangshi coal mine in southeastern Guizhou province when the coal and gas explosion hit at about 11 a.m. local time ((0300 UTC). Xinhua said five of those were rescued.
Nearly 2,000 people died in coal mine accidents last year in China, where lax safety standards make the mines among the world’s deadliest. But official statistics show the number of fatalities has been falling, dropping 19 percent between 2010 and 2011.
China’s coal mines continue to be one of the deadliest in the world, due to lax regulations, corruption, and inefficiency. According to Bloomberg, the State Council is tightening the rules for reopening coal mines after recent accidents:
Mines that don’t meet the necessary safety requirements shouldn’t resume operations under any conditions, the council said in yesterday’s statement, citing illegal reopenings as the cause of several deadly accidents recently.
China suspended operations at smaller coal mines earlier this month to boost safety ahead of a once-in-a-decade leadership transition, and policy makers are moving to improve standards after spate of accidents. Eighteen people were killed yesterday at a mine in the southwestern province of Guizhou.
Small mines with little resources and that don’t meet safety standards shouldn’t easily receive permits to reopen, the council said. Larger mines without necessary safety technology should consider merging with bigger companies that do, it said.
Read more about mine safety in China, via CDT.