Prosecutors in Xingning, Guangdong, have formally approved the arrest of the owner of the Daxing Colliery, where 123 miners lost their lives last month in the deadliest mine flood in the province's history, Xinhua reported yesterday. Coinciding with the approval was an announcement that Guangdong will close all coal mines, phasing out the entire industry. Xinhua said state prosecutors in Xingning have approved the arrest of Daxing Colliery chairman Zeng Yungao for his role in the accident and violation of mining regulations. Zeng surrendered to police on August 10, three days after the accident. Xingning Procuratorate head Song Qinchuan said the formal arrest of 17 other suspects was also approved. Most of them were former managers of the mine. At least one was arrested for destroying evidence - account books - after the accident. China Daily reported yesterday the disaster prompted the authorities to shut all coal mines in the province. 'Coal mining will soon cease to exist as an industry in south China's Guangdong province,' the newspaper said. 'The shutdowns, government officials said ... in Guangzhou, are permanent.' At present, Guangdong has 253 coal mines with a combined annual output of 8 million tonnes, or less than 0.5 per cent of the national output. Guangdong would set aside special funds to compensate mine owners and buy coal from other provinces to stabilise prices, China Daily said. State Administration of Work Safety director Li Yizhong told Xinhua on Thursday that corruption was a key factor behind the spate of coal-mine accidents on the mainland. 'The core [of the problem] is collusion between money and power,' he said. Mr Li said inspectors would step up safety checks of mines across the mainland and said any hazardous operations would have one chance to make changes. 'Those who still fail the safety checks will be shut down permanently.' More than 7,000 coal mines nationwide have been classified as hazardous, and the State Administration of Work Safety plans to send a huge taskforce to inspect them, China Daily said. After the inspection, up to a third of the mainland's coal mines could be shut permanently, the newspaper quoted Mr Li saying.