25 October, 2014 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter | Mobile





mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 11/29/2005
CHINA
Another predictable mining disaster
According to relatives, miners had complained the lack of safety, but the state-owned mine had all the right papers and permits.

Qitaihe (AsiaNews/SCMP) – The Qitaihe mining tragedy could have been avoided. Victims' relatives reveal that miners had complained about unsafe working conditions for months. Official sources have remained silent as to who is responsible even though the mine where the blast took place had all necessary safety papers.

The blast in Dongfeng Mine on Sunday trapped 221 miners underground. So far 146 have been confirmed dead, 72 have been rescued and 3 are still missing.

Relatives hung around the pit night and day waiting for news in minus 15 weather; some were silent; others wept or sobbed.

"It's all the management's fault," said a woman whose nephew and brother-in-law were among the missing. "They knew all along that there were safety problems but they wouldn't do anything about it."

Relatives say that miners had complained several times about poorly enforced safety regulations and had even threatened to strike unless the safety standards were improved. But management ignored their pleas and miners had to go back down the pit to earn between 1,000 and 2,000 yuan a month (US$ 125-250).

So far there has been no official statement about who is responsible for the accident.

With a population of about 800,000, Qitaihe has been hit by a series of coal mine accidents in recent years, although none have been as deadly as Sunday's blast in the Dongfeng mine.

In March an explosion killed 18 people in mine that had been ordered closed for lack of safety. The mine's owner was the deputy director of the city's Work Safety Bureau.

Just two months later, another explosion at a local mine site killed nine workers.

The State Council has taken high-profile steps this year in an effort to improve safety in mines. More than 9,000 illegal mines have been closed down this year and operations at a further 12,990 have been suspended.

However, coal mine fatalities had increased 8.5 per cent in the first eight months compared with the same period last year.

State-owned newspapers have charged local authorities with failing to uphold safety standards because they often hold shares in mining companies and are largely corrupt.

In some provinces after November 1, local authorities had allowed coal mines whose operations had been suspended for breaching safety regulations to resume working.

By contrast, the central government had ordered companies to have at least one executive in the pit with the miners to share their fate.

President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao urged officials to curb the "possible occurrence of big safety accidents which claim huge casualties," and demanded stricter inspections and punishments for violators

But it is obvious that these measures have not solved the problem and many observers wonder if the central government truly enforces them.

China's mines are regarded as the most dangerous in the world, and the problem has worsened in recent years as demand for raw materials has escalated to fuel the nation's rapid economic growth.

Coal prices rose by 40 per cent in 2004 pushed by a 56 per cent rise in demand for electrical power in 1999-2003. Consumption is expected to grow by another 11 per cent by 2006.

For experts high demand for coal has lead to short cuts around safety rules.

With coal covering two thirds of China's domestic energy needs, the government in early November announced an increase in production from 2.1 to 2.4 billion tonnes over the next five years.

When it comes to accidents, small companies are the usual culprit, but the Dongfeng mine is owned by mining conglomerate Heilongjiang Longmei Group, which owns four state-owned coal producers in Heilongjiang province, worth 13 billion yuan (€ 1.3 billion).

The mine had all the necessary government papers and permits in order and has been operating for more than 50 years with a capacity of 500,000 tonnes per year.

For experts the incident at the Dongfeng mine was likely caused by excessive output driven by the need for coal. (PB)


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
09/10/2009 CHINA
More deaths on China's building sites and gold and coal mines
12/06/2005 CHINA
Dongfeng's death toll reaches 171, PM Wen admits chaos and danger in coal mines
10/25/2014 CHINA
Xinjiang, coal mine collapses: 16 miners dead, 11 injured
12/09/2010 CHINA
Explosion in Chinese coal mine: At least 26 miners dead
11/25/2009 CHINA
Death toll from Hegang mine rises to 107

Editor's choices
IRAQ - ITALY
Almost 700,000 euros raised as the 'Adopt a Christian from Mosul' campaign continues
by Bernardo CervelleraA second instalment is sent with funds raised in September. The fate of East-West relations is being played out in the Middle East and Iraq. Pope Francis and the Synod issue an appeal. Governments are lukewarm. Aid is coming from around the world. A new international community is defeating the "globalisation of indifference."
IRAQ-VATICAN
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul": Archbishops’ thanks as first aid arrives
by Amel NonaMsgr. Amel Nona, the Chaldean Archbishop of Mosul, who is also a refugee himself, thanks all the donors to the AsiaNews campaign. The situation is increasingly difficult given the huge number of refugees and the arrival of winter and snow, making outdoor shelters and tents impossible. The crisis, an occasion that activates the faith of Christians.
ITALY - IRAQ
After raising € 350,000, 'Adopt a Christian from Mosul' campaign continues
by Bernardo CervelleraDonations raised up to 31 August have been sent to the patriarch of Baghdad and the bishops of Kurdistan. The campaign helps to feed, house, clothe, and bring comfort to more than 150,000 Christian, Yazidi, Turkmen, Shia and Sunni refugees who fled the violence of the army of the Islamic Caliphate. People in Italy and around the world have been generous, including the poor and the unemployed, a sign of hope for the world as well as those who suffer and those who give.

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.