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21 dead, 12 trapped in China mine accidents

by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Aug 3, 2010
Twenty-one people were killed and 12 others were trapped in two coal mine accidents in China, officials and state media said Tuesday, in the latest incidents to hit the industry.

An explosion rocked a colliery Tuesday in the southwestern province of Guizhou, killing 12 and trapping five, the state Xinhua news agency said.

Sixty miners were working underground when the accident happened in Renhuai city, but 43 managed to escape or were saved, it added.

Late Monday, nine workers were killed and seven trapped when deadly gas leaked into a pit at the Sanyuandong coal mine in Dengfeng city in central Henan province, the State Work Safety Administration said in a statement.

A total of 127 miners were in the pit at the time, but 111 of them were quickly brought to safety, Xinhua reported, citing an official with the Zhengzhou Coal Industry Co. Ltd., which owns the colliery.

The mine manager was sacked and the company's chief engineer suspended after the incident.

Rescuers have been unable to enter the mine in Dengfeng because of the high concentration of gas in the pit and chances of survival for the seven missing were slim, Xinhua quoted emergency worker Yu Haisen as saying.

The Henan provincial government declined immediate comment on the fate of the missing miners. AFP's calls to the company were not answered.

China's vast coal mining industry is plagued by lax regulation, corruption and inefficiency, as mines rush to meet soaring energy demand.

At the weekend, 24 miners were trapped in a flooded pit in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang, while 17 others were killed in an explosion at a mine in the northern province of Shanxi, China's coal-producing heartland.

Last year 2,631 miners were killed in China, according to official figures, but independent labour groups say the actual figure could be much higher as many accidents are covered up to avoid costly shutdowns.

earlier related report
Australia benefits from Indian coal demand
Sydney (UPI) Aug 3, 2010 - Australia is posed to benefit from India's rising demand for coal imports, analysts say.

The rapid rise of India's economy, which the International Monetary Fund last month forecast would grow 9.5 percent this year, is fueling the country's demand for coal.

Arvind Mahajan, an analyst with KPMG in Mumbai estimates that India will need to import up to 150 million tons of coal in 2015, The Sydney Morning Herald reports. That's 154 percent more than it imported in 2008-09.

India relies on coal-fired power stations to generate more than 70 percent of the country's electricity.

It also needs coking coal for its steel production, which is expected to rise from the current level of about 55 million tons to more than 150 million tons in the next 5 to 10 years. Sanjay Mookim, an analyst with Credit Suisse said that India has 86 coal-fired projects planned, with more than 29 under construction.

Tim Harcourt, chief economist at the Australian Trade Commission predicts India's demand for coal "to outstrip China's."

He said there's an increase in reports of Indian companies negotiating to acquire Australian coal assets.

"Expect a lot of action from India on the trade and investment front," Harcourt wrote in a recent report.

One such example is an announcement Tuesday by Adani Enterprises, India's biggest coal importer that it would buy coal reserves of Australian firm Linc Energy for $456 million.

That gives Adani a 100 percent interest in Linc's Galilee coal tenement in the Galilee Basin, Queensland, with estimated coal reserves of 7.8 billion tons.

Adani said it would import the coal produced from the mines to feed its coast-based power projects in India, which include a 4,620-megawatt power project at Mundra in Gujarat, another 3,300-megawatts near Mundra and 2,640-megawats in Gujarat.

Other Indian companies are also looking to acquire coal reserves.

Partha Bhattacharyya, chairman and managing director of state-run Coal India Limited told the Indian Express last month that it has honed in on five companies with which it intends to sign agreements within the next two months. Two of the companies are in Australia, two in Indonesia and one in the United States.

To handle rising demand, Coal India has invested in a new import terminal able to handle up to 6 million tons of coal imports. Located in the southeast port of Visakhapatnam, it is to open in 2013.

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Chinese rescuers battle to save 24 trapped in mine
Beijing (AFP) Aug 1, 2010
Rescuers raced Sunday to free 24 people trapped in a flooded mine in northeastern China, state media reported. Heilongjiang provincial governor Li Zhanshu met coal industry and work safety officials at the scene in Jixi City, ordering them to speed up efforts to pump water out of the mine, the official Xinhua news agency reported. The Hengxinyuan Mine had been slated to close by the end ... read more

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