The heavy rains soaking South and East China since June have prompted China’s National Coal Mine Safety Administration to issue an emergency notification on the evening of Wednesday, calling for immediate nationwide action on flood preparedness to protect the lives of coal miners.
“Many parts of China have entered the season where floods are common, with the marked increase of intense rain in regions south to the Yangtze River and in South and Southwest China,” the administration noted.
The sustained heavy rain in some regions had caused localized flooding which lifted both the level of underground water in coal mines and rainwater runoff into the pits. The strong winds and lightning often accompanying the rains could also lead to power being suspended at coal mines, and risks of landslides and mudflows are increased too, the coal mine safety regulator explained.
In response to these weather events, the administration ordered that mine managements immediately undertake thorough checks on coal mine safety risks, particularly focusing on prevention measures for accidents caused by heavy rain, floods, lightning and strong wind.
A mechanism of joint coordination will be established too among coal mine operators and authorities in charge of atmospheric, water and natural resources monitoring and emergency management, it said.
This would serve to keep coal mine managers on the alert for any potential disaster so they can idle operations and withdraw miners quickly. For any emergency cases where coal miners are not evacuated in time, coal mine operators will be seriously punished, the administration warned.
Since June, the rain has been almost non-stop in some areas of South and East China, Mysteel Global notes, with the National Meteorological Centre releasing storm warnings every day over June 2-July 2 for different parts of the country.
An industrial source in Inner Mongolia confirmed the impact of recent heavy rain to mining operations. “Because of the recent heavy rain, miners of some underground operations stopped entering the mine. The impact on open-pit operations was even more serious, as trucks at some mines were not able to drive out of the operation, because of water in mine,” he said.
“The heavy rain also impacted local coal transportation, as accident risks increased notably,” he added.
On June 25, a storm broke over Dezhou city at East China’s Shandong province, causing power blackouts at local two coal mines which trapped over 300 mine workers underground for as long as seven hours, according to the notification.
On that occasion, no fatality was reported but just three days later, heavy rain in Southwest China’s Chongqing municipality – 1,600 km from Shandong’s Dezhou – caused flooding at a local underground coal mine. Although all mine workers were evacuated, three rescuers investigating the extent of the flooding lost their lives, the administration reported.
Source: MySteel Global
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