China to revise coal mining laws

China is to revise its nine-year-old coal mining law to try to improve safety in its notoriously dangerous pits, state media has reported.

    The country depends on coal for 70% of its energy needs

    The news came a week after the authorities said 6027 workers were killed in coal mining accidents last year.

     

    The lack of investment in safety equipment and poor work safety awareness are the main reasons for the high number of accidents, president of the China Coal Information Institute Huang Shengchu was quoted as saying by China Daily.

     

    The institute and the State Council are preparing to draft the revised law before it is submitted to the National People's Congress, the country's top legislature, for approval, the report said.

     

    Focus on safety

     

    The newspaper said the revisions would focus on safety requirements in the sector, without giving other details.

     

    An ongoing power shortage has resulted in mines going into overdrive, often at the expense of safety standards.

     

    Many illegal and often dangerous mines have opened to cash in on rising coal prices.

     

    China, which depends on coal for 70% of its energy, has the most dangerous mines in the world, with more than 6000 to 7000 workers killed each year, according to official figures.

     

    Independent estimates place the toll at closer to 20,000 as mine operators often cover up accidents to avoid fines and costly shutdowns.

    SOURCE: AFP


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