China Closing and Inspecting Coal Mines to Increase Safety

The world's largest producer and consumer of coal will be taking measures this month to assess mining safety throughout the nation.

Operations at some of China's coal mines have been suspended in an effort to increase the mines' safety. China is the largest producer and consumer of coal in the world, and its government is attempting to improve safety prior to a leadership transition coming later in the month.

The turnover in China's leadership occurs once a decade. To inspect and improve mines before this change occurs after the 18th Party Congress in Beijing, the government has closed many small mines across the country. The State Administration of Work Safety is sending inspectors to perform spot checks on mines that will be closing.

Mines in the Inner Mongolia, Shanxi, and Shaanxi provinces may be affected. These areas combined are responsible for 60 percent of the country's coal output.

During the past year, 1,973 workers have been killed in mining accidents; 2,433 workers were killed in 2010. By comparison, there were 48 deaths in U.S. mines in 2010.

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