China mine deaths pile up

Another fatal accident leaves 24 dead in the world's deadliest mining industry.

    Thousands of miners die every year as owners race to meet China's soaring demand for coal(File photo)
    On Saturday explosions at two separate mines left at least 53 miners dead.
     
    The first blast occurred in the Yuanhua Coal Mine in Jixi, in northeast Heilongjiang province. The second occurred in a privately-owned mine Fuyuan, in the southwestern province of Yunnan.
     
    Safety worsening
     
    China's mining industry is notorious for accidents and fatalities.
     
    A total of 3,726 miners have died in more than 2,300 floods, blasts and other accidents in the nation's coal mines in the first 10 months of 2006.
     
    A report released by the government this month noted that coal mining safety had worsened since the beginning of the winter heating season.
     
    The report said the sharp increase in demand for coal often caused mine managers to breach safety laws.
     
    The number reported dead in Saturday's blasts is the highest in a single day in recent weeks.
     
    Labour rights groups say that while the official death toll in China's mines is already horrific, many cases go unreported or are covered up by corrupt officials.
     
    As a result, they say, the real figure is likely much higher.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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