32 dead in China’s second major coal mine blast in a week
Thirty-two miners were confirmed dead on Sunday in the second coal mine explosion in a week on the mainland, state-run media reported.
The gas explosion hit the mine in Chifeng in Inner Mongolia midday Saturday. Of the 181 miners working underground at the time, 149 survived, state-run Xinhua reported.
The mine was operated by Baoma Mining.
Yang Huanning, director of the State Administration of Work Safety, said safety officials in Chifeng had been suspended, and investigations would be launched to determine any dereliction of duty.
News of the blast came just hours after 21 miners who were trapped for four days after an explosion hit their unlicensed coal mine were confirmed dead in Heilongjiang province. Four people were arrested over that disaster.
On October 31, another mine blast in Chongqing killed 33 miners.
The work safety watchdog said it carried out an undercover inspection in Jixi, a coal producing city in Heilongjiang, on Thursday and found many small miners had violated safety regulations.
Yang ordered local authorities across the nation to conduct safety checks and take remedial measures.
“Safety supervision should be strengthened,” he said. “Any safety risks have to be removed and measures should be taken to stop major accidents from happening again.”
China’s mining industry has long been among the world’s deadliest, and top work safety regulators have acknowledged that some mines cut corners on safety standards due to financial pressure.
Coal prices have rebounded since June after the central government started closing old and unproductive mines to cut excess capacity.
The benchmark steaming coal price for delivery to Qinhuangdao port surged to nearly 700 yuan per tonne in October, its highest in four years.