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35 dead in last two weeks following mine explosions in China

07 November 2011

Reputedly the worlds deadliest mines, China says it is improving safety as reported by Hazardous Area International a few weeks ago, 2433 died in the 2010, down from 2631 the year before official figures show.

Miner being examined in China following explosion
Miner being examined in China following explosion

Two separate explosions in two weeks have killed 35 miners in Chinese mines leaving dozens injured. 

On the 30th October, a gas explosion at a coal mine operating without a proper licence killed 29 miners in central China, state media said, the latest in a series of deadly accidents to hit the industry.

There were 35 miners working in the state-owned Xialiuchong Coal Mine in Hengyang city, Hunan province, at the time of the blast, which happened early in the evening, the official Xinhua news agency said.

Following a small earthquake on Thursday 3rd November, eight have now died, with 52 brought to safety, and 14 escaped immediately. The authorities said the initial rescue operation had been hampered by coal dust following an explosion.

They said that the miners had been working in the pit 480m down when a "rock burst" occurred - an explosion caused by the sudden release of built-up pressure. An undetected earthquake with a magnitude of 2.9 hit the area shortly before the rock burst. The 52 survivors and four dead were successfully brought to the surface after rescuers unclogged the shaft half an hour later.

Most of the trapped miners were able to survive because there was enough space and ventilation, the rescue crew said later. Luo Lin, head of the State Administration for Work Safety, praised the rescuers but said the "alarm bell of work safety must keep ringing".

"Enterprises should pay attention to work safety when the coal demand is high. They should not allow any operation that violates rules or regulations," he said.

But officials insist the country's record is improving, and say they have taken action by closing many illegal mines.

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