Flood Traps 16 Coal Miners in China

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By Vittorio Hernandez | December 3, 2012 9:58 AM EST

Sixteen Chinese miners were trapped on Saturday after a coal mine in Qitaihe City, Heilongjiang Province in northeast China was flooded. The 16 are among 22 miners deployed by the Furuixiang Coal Company.

Six of them escaped before the water entered the coal mine. Rescuers have installed water pumps to save the 16 miners, Xinhua reports.

As China pushes through with more mining projects, 650 mining accidents had been registered throughout 2012 which caused the death of 1,146 miners, according to a government report released in mid-October.

About 46.5 per cent of the deaths happened in illegally operated mines, prompting authorities to pursue the close of 625 small mines in 2012 to further improve safety.

The last one before the Saturday incident was on Nov 25 when 19 miners died and four other tapped as a result of a gas outburst that hit another coal mine in Guizhou Province in southwest China. The mine was run by the Xiangshui Coal Mine which supplies the coal requirements of the Pannan Power Station in the region.

Three months ago, an explosion at the gas-filled put at the Xiaojiawan Coal Mine in Sichuan Province caused the death of 25 miners as reported in the following YouTube video.

A 2003 report said that while China produced only 35 per cent of the world's coal output, the country accounted for 80 per cent of coal-mining fatalities. Because of $360 million allocated by China for technological renovation of work safety and gas management, the figures have actually decreased by more than 50 per cent compared to the 4,749 Chinese coal miners who died in accidents in 2006.

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