China rolls out early-warning system for coal mines

China Daily reports on a new tracking system in China designed to give early warning of dangers in coal mines.

The website says the system works through a network of sensors that collect data, such as temperature and gas density, which can predict the likelihood of explosions or floods:

The system provides all-day data and gives four levels of warning, according to Song Jiancheng, head of the research team. The information is transmitted to a control center above ground for processing and production of reports.

So far the system has been deployed in three mines in northwestern China's Shanxi province, says China Daily.

China’s dismal, and tragic, accident record at coal mines led the Chinese government to consolidate thousands of small, often-dangerous coal mines to boost safety.

In October 2010 the Chinese government shut down 1,611 illegal coal mines in an effort to improve an industry whose working conditions have been described as harsh, dangerous, and often fatal.

In 2010 more than 2,600 people died in mining-related accidents, including explosions, floodings and cave-ins.