Mine safety authorities in Southwest China’s Chongqing have ordered all local coal miners to suspend operations effective from last Saturday, one day after a serious accident at a local underground mine claimed 23 lives, according to a report by China Central Television (CCTV) on December 9.
A fire broke out at the Diaoshuidong coal mine in Chongqing’s Yongchuan district when 24 workers were dismantling mining facilities, according to the CCTV report. Only one of the workers was found alive, the others succumbed to carbon monoxide gas poisoning. Preliminary investigation results showed that the fire was caused by illegal operations, CCTV said.
Boasting some 120,000 tonnes/year of raw coal capacity, the Diaoshuidong coal mine had ceased operations as part of government efforts to remove outdated capacity.
Following the accident, a new round of safety inspections was ordered by Chonqging safety regulators on local coal mining enterprises. Meanwhile, all underground activities at those mines already closed as part of the capacity elimination program will be forbidden, according to the report. When local coal mines might be allowed to resume operations was unclear.
Hosting some 17 million t/y of coal capacity in total by the end of 2019, Chongqing is not one of China’s leading coal mining regions. But the latest accident occurred only two months after another serious fire accident at the underground Songzao coal mine where carbon monoxide gas again killed 16 miners, at that time the most serious coal-mining accident to have occurred in China this year in terms of casualties. As of Wednesday, the Songzao mine was still idled, Mysteel Global understands.
“(The two accidents) have caused heavy casualties and have had a very bad influence (on society),” China’s state safety commission pointed out during questioning of the Chongqing Municipal Government on December 6. The same day, the commission ordered the country’s mining regions to adopt measures by year’s end to secure safety.
Winter in China is traditionally the season when demand for power is the highest. Due to safety concerns during the season, the country’s mine safety regulators usually commence safety checks to minimize accidents, which sometimes forces coal miners to reduce output, Mysteel Global understands.
Written by Sean Xie, firstname.lastname@example.org
Edited by Russ McCulloch, email@example.com
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