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THE PITS
70 trapped, eight killed in China coal mines: reports
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) July 7, 2011

Nearly 70 miners were trapped underground and at least eight have died in a spate of mining accidents that have jolted China's dangerous mine industry in recent days, state media reported Thursday.

Four miners were killed in a gas explosion in a mine in western-most China's Xinjiang region Thursday, with one seriously injured, Xinhua news agency said.

A dozen workers were in the mine at the time of the explosion while seven escaped the shaft, it said. The cause of the explosion is under investigation.

Meanwhile the death toll in a flooded mine in south China's Guangxi province rose to four, with 18 still trapped while rescuers worked frantically to save free them, Xinhua said in a separate report.

The flood occurred on Saturday when 71 miners were in the mine, it said.

In east China's Shandong province Thursday, the number of miners trapped in a coal mine in Zaozhuang city dropped to 28, following efforts to save workers stuck in the shaft following a Wednesday night fire.

Since the fire broke out, a rescue team of over 1,000 have been working to save the over 90 miners in the mine, Xinhua said.

Twenty-three miners remain trapped in a coal mine in southwest China's Guizhou province that also flooded on Saturday.

China's coal mines have a notoriously poor safety record, which the government has repeatedly pledged to address.

In its latest campaign, the government issued a policy last year that required six kinds of safety systems, including rescue facilities, to be installed in all coal mines within three years.

In 2010, 2,433 people died in coal mine accidents in China, according to official statistics -- a rate of more than six workers per day.

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

earlier related report
Rescuers at China mine offered huge reward
Beijing (AFP) July 7, 2011 - Rescuers at a mine in southern China have been offered two million yuan ($310,000) for each worker they pull out alive from a colliery that collapsed at the weekend, state media reported.

Heavy rains have hampered efforts to reach 19 workers trapped underground in the coal mine in Heshan city in Guangxi region, and the official Xinhua news agency said late Wednesday six of those had the "highest chance of survival."

The report said local authorities had announced the reward, in an apparent incentive for rescuers, and quoted the Guangxi Heshan Coal Mining Company that runs the colliery as apologising for the accident.

Rescuers have already retrieved three bodies from the scene, and the report said the victims' families had signed compensation deals with the mining company, expected to be around 400,000 to 600,000 yuan.

The accident is just one in a series to have hit China in recent days.

At least 28 people are currently trapped in a coal mine in the eastern province of Shandong after a fire broke out underground on Wednesday evening, a separate Xinhua report said.

The nation's work safety administration initially said 36 people had been trapped by the blaze. But according to the report, some miners had since managed to escape.

In the southwestern province of Guizhou, meanwhile, rescuers were still battling to save 23 miners trapped in another coal mine that flooded on Saturday, the local government said Wednesday.

China's coal mines have a notoriously poor safety record, which the government has repeatedly pledged to address.

In 2010, 2,433 people died in coal mine accidents in China, according to official statistics -- a rate of more than six workers per day.

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




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THE PITS
36 trapped after China coal mine fire: state media
Beijing (AFP) July 7, 2011
At least 36 people are trapped underground at a coal mine in eastern China after a fire broke out, state media reported Thursday. The fire started in an air compression device 225 metres (246 yards) under ground at the mine in Shandong province on Wednesday evening, the state-run Xinhua news agency said, citing the State Administration of Work Safety. Rescuers rushed to the scene and an ... read more


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