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Shanxi to slash half of its coalmines
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08:26, March 27, 2009

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Shanxi province, which produces one-fourth of China's coal, vowed to speed up the overhaul of its coalmines, cutting the number by more than half by the end of 2010.

"We plan to shut down the unsafe and low-productive coalmines, narrowing down the number from 2,598 (at the end of last year) to 1,000 in two years," Wang Shouzhen, chief of Shanxi coal bureau, was quoted by the Shanxi Evening yesterday.

"Earlier, we planned to cut the number to 1,500 at the end of 2010, but decided to speed up because of mounting pressure to abide by safe production norms," he said.

Mines without water inrush accident control and gas monitoring systems will be blacklisted, following Shanxi coal bureau requirements.

There were 117 mine accidents in Shanxi, resulting in 275 deaths, last year, according to the bureau.

The latest gas blast killed at least 74 miners in Guijiao, 60 km west of Taiyuan, Shanxi's provincial capital.

Experts say unlicensed production, a disregard for the law, besides neglect of industry regulations, lack of supervision and corruption and low safety awareness of people, are the major causes of accidents.

The certified production capacity of Shanxi is 590 million tons, but the existing mines only have a total production capacity of 539 million tons.

To meet the demand, many of Shanxi's coal miners, especially State-owned ones, are operating beyond their certified production capacity - a potential threat to mine safety, according to Wang.

Following the overhaul, Shanxi would have 17 super coal company groups, including three with a capacity of more than 300 million tons.

Source: China Daily

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