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    » 07/05/2012, 00.00

    CHINA

    Sixteen men trapped in Hunan coalmine



    In recent months, dozens of miners have died in accidents similar to the one in Hunan. Official figures indicate that coal-mining accidents are down by 19 per cent. However, human rights groups say that many accidents are not reported for fear of economic losses, fines and mine closure.

    Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) - At least 16 men were trapped in a flooded coalmine in Hunan (central China) in what is the latest accident to occur in an industry that claims thousands of lives each year. Rescue teams have been at work since yesterday but have not yet succeeded in freeing any of the miners.

    It is unclear why the mine flooded but it might be related to the start of the rainy season.

    Hunan has one of the highest numbers of mine accidents. Dozens of coal miners have died in recent months in accidents.

    The latest government figures show that 1,973 people died in coal mining accidents last year, a 19 per cent fall compared with a year earlier.

    Human rights groups and Chinese researchers say the actual death toll is likely to be much higher, partly due to under-reporting of accidents as mine bosses seek to limit their economic losses, fines and mine closure.

    China is the world's biggest consumer of coal, relying on the fossil fuel for 70 per cent of its growing energy needs.

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    See also

    18/04/2007 ChINA
    Molten steel kill 32 workers, industrial accidents multiply
    Steel workers die as 30 tonnes of liquid steel spills over them. Just in the last three days hundreds of workers are killed and injured. A chemical plant releases a toxic cloud but no one warns the population. At least 47 coal miners are trapped in three different mines as a result of flooding, collapse and explosions.

    30/03/2010 CHINA
    Shanxi: 153 trapped miners could die of hunger and thirst
    Rescuers try to drain flooded mineshafts to reach miners trapped for the past two days who could die from lack of oxygen or poisonous gases. The mine in question is presented as a first-class model of safety and efficiency. China leads the world in mining deaths.

    27/05/2008 CHINA
    China’s energy production drops further
    More and more plants are shutting down production for lack of coal, now priced at US$ 150 per tonne. The situation is expected to get worse in the summer as a result of the massive use of air conditioning. Billions of yuan are given to companies that sell fuel below cost.

    11/11/2011 CHINA
    Yunnan death mine was not supposed to be open
    Rescuers are still digging in Qujing where 22 miners are still trapped in an unlicensed mine. So far, 21 miners are known to have been killed. Coal miners continue to die like flies to quench China’s thirst for energy.

    17/04/2007 CHINA
    Another explosion in coal mine traps 33 people
    The accident occurred in Baofeng County. Coal represents 70 per cent of China’s energy needs, but its mines are the worst in the world. Thousands die every year, 5,000 last year according to the authorities, more than 20,000 according to independent labour group.



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