Head of coal-rich Chinese province sorry for accidents

Head of coal-rich Chinese province sorry for accidents

The governor of China’s coal-rich Shanxi province has made a rare public apology for a rash of coal mine disasters last year and vowed to address the problem, according to state media reports.

“As the leader of the provincial government, I shall take the responsibility for the failure and I feel deep remorse,” Yu was quoted as saying by Xinhua news agency.

“We must take more effective measures this year and achieve positive results.”

Yu’s comments marked the latest in a string of recent official expressions of concern over China’s coal mines, which are among the world’s most dangerous as mine operators compromise safety standards to keep up with rising energy demand.

In a report to the provincial congress on his administration’s work, Yu said an average 80 people died for every 100 million tonnes of coal produced last year in Shanxi, down from 98 people in 2005, Xinhua reported.

“However, major mine accidents were still happening. The accidents in July and November caused great losses to the lives and property of the people,” he said.

Last July, 53 people were killed in an explosion at a Shanxi mine. In November, 34 more miners died in a fire in a mine and 24 others were killed in a gas explosion.

Yu also apologized for his government’s failure to meet a target to reduce energy costs per unit of gross domestic product by 5.6 percent in 2006. Shanxi only achieved a two percent decrease.

A total of 2,845 coal mining accidents were recorded in China last year, resulting in the deaths of 4,746 people, Xinhua has reported.

Labour groups say the real figure could be far higher.

Source: AFP

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