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Separate mine explosions in China kill at least 37 over two day period

27 November 2014

A mine explosion in Guizhou province killed at least 11 people on November 27, in the second coal mine accident to cause mass fatalities in China in two days. This follows news of another major coal mine incident at the Hengda coal mine in Liaoning province, where 26 miners were killed on November 26.

Coal mine in China - stock image
Coal mine in China - stock image

Xinhua said 19 people were working at the Songlin mine in the Guizhou town of Songhe when an explosion ripped through the shaft early in the morning of November 27. There was no immediate word on the condition of the eight survivors. The agency said investigators were looking into the cause of the blast.

The earlier incident took place at the Hengda coal mine run by state-owned Fuxin Coal Corp in Fuxin, Liaoning province. Another 50 miners were injured in this disaster, Xinhua said. Of those, 30 had serious burns, eight were in intensive care and four were still in danger of dying.

Local government officials are investigating whether the Liaoning blast is related to an earthquake in the region prior to the accident, Xinhua said.

Despite the generally better safety reputation of state-owned mines, a number of deadly accidents have struck Fuxin Coal's mines in recent years, including a 2005 gas blast that killed 214 people.

China, the world’s biggest coal producer, has one of the worst mine-safety records because old pits have been kept open to meet demand for the fuel. More than a thousand people died in China from coal-mine accidents last year, according to State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS), down from more than 6,000 per year a decade ago.

The country plans to close as many as 2,000 mines by the end of 2015 for safety reasons. This will be helped by the fact that demand for coal has levelled off as the Chinese economy has slowed down in the last two years.

In the US, the world’s second-largest producer of the commodity, 20 people died from coal mining accidents last year, according to government figures.

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