China coal mine blast fatality numbers rise after official accused of cover-up
21 February 2017
Xinhua reports that the death toll in the methane explosion at the Zubao Coal Mine in Lianyuan City, Hunan Province, has risen to 10 after a miner originally listed as injured was found to be dead. The news agency said police had arrested a mine official on suspicion of covering up the death. Three local government officials including two deputy mayors are also under investigation.
The blast occurred on February 14 when 29 people were working underground at the time of the incident. The licensed coal mine has an annual production capacity of 90,000 tonnes and is owned by Tengfei Coal Mine Co. Ltd.
Many mines in China, the world's largest consumer and producer of coal, are unsafe despite government pledges to improve work safety standards and shut down small and inefficient pits. More than 500 workers died in mining accidents in 2016, according to government statistics.