Gas blast at mine in Baishan, Jilin, kills 28

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 30 March, 2013, 9:41am
UPDATED : Sunday, 31 March, 2013, 7:01am


A gas blast in a state-owned coal mine killed 28 and left 13 injured in the latest incident to damage the industry's notoriously poor safety record.

The accident occurred on Friday at the Babao Mine in Baishan city, Jilin province, said Xinhua, citing a spokesman with the provincial work safety and supervision bureau.

The injuries of the 13 were not life-threatening.

Rescue work has finished and the cause of the explosion is being investigated, the spokesman added.

The mine is controlled by the Tonghua Mining (Group), the Xinhua report said.

China is the world's biggest consumer of coal, relying on the fossil fuel for 70 per cent of its growing energy needs.

But its mines are among the deadliest in the world because of lax regulation, corruption and inefficiency.

Accidents are common because safety is often neglected by bosses seeking quick profits. An accident at a mine in Guizhou province killed 21 miners earlier this month.

Xinhua reported that 58 workers managed to get to the surface safely after the explosion at the Machang mine.

An explosion at the Shangchang Coal Mine in Yunnan province left 17 dead last December.

A month earlier, 23 were killed in a gas explosion at a mine in Guizhou province.

And last August, seven died in a coal mine accident in Jilin city.

Efforts to improve safety in China's coal mines have seen the numbers of accidents decrease in recent years.

Official figures show 1,384 died in coal mine accidents on the mainland last year, sharply down from 1,973 in 2011.

But labour rights groups say the actual death toll is likely to be much higher.

This is partly due to the fact that some accidents are not reported as mine bosses seek to limit their economic losses and avoid punishment.