From January to November, 3,413 mining accidents occurred in China and killed 5,286 people, a decrease of 253 cases and 451 people from the first 11 months of last year, said Wang Xianzheng, director of the State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS), at a teleconference on production safety Tuesday.
China's coal mines are registering their lowest death rate per one million tons of coal so far this year, he said.
The death rate for every one million tons of coal is 2.998 percent, down 0.846 percent year-on-year, he said, stressing "thisis the lowest rate in history."
China produced 35 percent of the world's coal last year, but reported 80 percent of the total deaths in coal mine accidents, according to statistics with the SAWS November.
In 2003, the average coal miner in China produced 321 tons of coal a year; only 2.2 percent of that in the United States and 8.1percent that of South Africa. The death rate for every 100 tons of coal, however, is 100 times of that of the US and 30 times that of South Africa.
Chinese government has taken measures to improve work safety at coal mines. In 2000, China set up a national surveillance system to monitor safety conditions.
In the following years, the government earmarked more than 4 billion yuan (over US$480 million) to help state-owned and small local coal mines in gas explosion prevention and monitoring.