Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – A gas leak in a Guizhou mine has left 32 people dead. A rescue team managed to save 52 miners; a further three remain missing, but the possibility of finding them is slim. The accident took place yesterday afternoon in Qunli coal mine in Nayong county, one of the poorest areas of south west China. Since last August at least 5 other mine accidents have occurred in the zone.
China’s mines are the most dangerous in the world. In order to meet the nations’ increased energy demands – 70% of which are met by coal- mine owners are racing to exploit reserves while completely ignoring the issue of safety.
Just days ago the government issued statistics regarding deaths in the mining industry. In the last 10 months alone there were 3069 victims, 19% less compared to the same period last year. The statistics however are unreliable given that many accidents are never reported for fear of the mines being closed down, as called for by the law. According to independent data more than 20 thousand people die in the mines each year.
In the course of the last two years the government has approved regulations governing safety standards in the mines, but their application is vague to say the least. The guilty are never brought to justice: in 2006, 95% of the Party members involved in ownership of collapsed mines were acquitted.