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Overloading blamed for deaths of 20 coal miners

By Li Qian (Shanghai Daily)

08:42, September 26, 2012

OVERLOADING was to blame for a coal mine accident that killed 20 miners early yesterday in northwest China's Gansu Province, work safety officials said.

Two carriages with 34 people on board slipped 150 meters and overturned at 0:25am when a steel cable pulling them up a 28-degree 704-meter slope broke 80 meters from the entrance to the pit in the city of Baiyin.

Company sources said the cable that snapped was replaced on July 29, but an initial investigation suggested the carriages were overloaded, Xinhua news agency reported.

All the bodies and the survivors had been brought to the surface as of midday. Most of the 14 survivors are in hospital being treated for their injuries. Three of them are in serious condition.

Officials said the coal mine, run by Qusheng Coal Mining Co, was operating illegally, as it was one of 55 that safety authorities had ordered to halt production.

The order was part of an industry reorganization that was incorporating 55 small mines into 10 larger ones, Xinhua said.

The Qusheng pit began operation in 2003 and had a designed annual output of 90,000 tons.

In the wake of the accident, the Gansu government has demanded a temporary shutdown of all mines with annual output below 300,000 tons for a safety overhaul.

The Baiyin City government has set aside 6.1 million yuan (US$966,850) as compensation for the accident victims.
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