China to launch new round of coal mine safety checks

Chinese coal miners at work. Image from Shutterstock.

China will launch a new round of safety inspections on coal mines across the country from late August until end-September, the country’s coal mine safety watchdog said on Wednesday.

The checks follow a spate of fatal coal mine accidents that stirred concerns over poor safety conditions, particularly at small mines.

Inspectors would crack down on illegal production and urge miners to improve their ability to deal with major disasters such as gas explosions and floods, the National Coal Mine Safety Administration said in a statement.

Coal miners found to producing beyong their approved capacity will be punished, it added, without giving details.

China produced 2.09 billion tonnes of coal over the first seven months this year, up 4.3% from the same period in 2018, according to official data.

In May, China’s state planner said it would ramp up closures of small coal mines to boost safety and reduce pollution, aiming to cut the number of small coal mines nationally to less than 800 by 2021.

(By Muyu Xu and Shivani Singh; Editing by Richard Pullin)

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