BEIJING: At least 26 miners were killed in a gas explosion in a coal mine operating without necessary safety clearance in central China’s Henan province, officials said today.
A total of 46 miners were working underground when the blast occurred at 7:40 p.M last evening in the Juyuan Coal Mine, Sanmenxia City, about 300-km from the provincial capital of Zhengzhou, officials of Yi Ma Coal Industry Group, the ill-fated mine’s newly found parent company said. Twenty of the miners were lifted to safety. Rescue work has ended.
An accurate death toll was not immediately known because the mine owner fled after the accident and the management of the mine was chaotic, a spokesman of the group, which owns the mines, was quoted as saying by the state-run Xinhua news agency today. Rescuers vented toxic gases from the mine before they identify the locations of the missing miners.
The mine, capable of producing 1,50,000 tonne of coal a year, is under reform and industry re-grouping. After being taken over by Yi Ma Coal Industry Group, a state-owned conglomerate, Yi Ma cast away the mine’s old name and renamed it as “Juyuan Coal Mine”.
Juyuan mine was supposed to eliminate safety hazards before it resumed operation.
Yi Ma Coal Industry Group sent a supervisor to a safety training course 200-km away in Jiaozuo City on the day of the accident, while the mine owner ordered workers to work down the mine, a spokesman for the group said. The police are investigating the accident and attempting to locate the mine owner.
Yi Ma Coal Industry Group has coal mines in five provinces and regions across the country and employs
The Group is valued at 15.7 billion yuan (USD 2.5 Billion). Mine accidents, which have become frequent in energy hungry China, continue to take place even after the government has announced new rules few months ago under which supervisors had to accompany the workers when they go down