Chinese state mine accident that killed 10 workers was caused by ‘illegal’ output, safety agency says

Danshuigou mine, near Shuozhou, owned by China’s second-largest producer China National Coal Group was producing up to five times annual coal quota

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 24 January, 2017, 3:22pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 24 January, 2017, 11:17pm

China’s State Administration of Work Safety said on Tuesday that “illegal” ramped-up output and poor maintenance at a state-owned coal mine in Shanxi province led to an accident that killed 10 workers last week.

The Danshuigou coal mine, near Shuozhou, owned by China’s second-largest producer China National Coal Group, had a quota from the provincial government to produce 900,000 tonnes of coal a year – or 75,000 tonnes per month.

But the mine had been producing up to five times that amount, including 400,000 tonnes in November and 260,000 tonnes in December, the work safety regulator said.

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The over-quota output and poor maintenance at the mine contributed to a tunnel collapse on January 17 last week, which killed 10 workers, it also said.

“The lack of maintenance for coal workers’ safety, the use of fake safety measurement data and ramped-out production rates all led to an accident with this coal mine that been granted a whole set of mining licences,” the work safety watchdog said.

The company had also been digging new tunnels that it knew were not seismically stable, the agency said.

ChinaCoal’s spokesman Jiang Chun said that the company had learnt a lesson following the mine accident.

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“ChinaCoal Group is seriously dealing with the case of illegal mining, and has started a company-wide investigation of more than 50 mines over illegal output,” he said.

The company said the Danshuigou coal mine had already been closed until the company was able to address all the issues at the site.

Any coal mine that produced 10 per cent more than its government quota would be shut down for an indefinite period, the safety agency said.

The statement from the safety agency is the first official acknowledgement that state-owned coal mines are involved in what it terms illegal mining since prices began to rally in mid-2016.