Mine collapse in northern China leaves 21 dead
14 January 2019
A roof collapse in a small, privately-owned coal mine in northern China on Saturday killed 21 workers. A total of 87 miners were underground in the Lijiagou mine in Shenmuwhen the cave-in occurred around 4 p.m.
Initial state media reports indicated that 19 workers had been killed and 66 had escaped. Rescue efforts continued through the night in the hope that the missing two would be found alive. Their bodies were found on Sunday morning.
The mine is located in Shenmu in northern Shanxi province which borders Inner Mongolia. Aerial photographs of the mine on Sunday revealed a large number of ambulances and personnel.
The cause of the accident at the mine, operated by the Baiji Mining Company, is still under investigation, according to the state broadcaster CCTV.
According to a government notice, the Lijiagou mine was granted approval in 2016 to produce 900,000 tonnes of coal a year. However, in 2017, as part of a government campaign, its owner was ordered to suspend operations while it “improved safety standards to prevent serious accidents.”
Whether or not the required safety improvements were carried out has not been made public at this stage.
China is the largest producer of coal in the world and notorious for its poor safety record. Information about mining-related tragedies, as well as the outcome of investigations, are heavily censored.
In December last year, seven miners were killed, and three others injured in a coal mine in Chongqing municipality in China’s southwest when the connecting segment of a mining skip broke, plunging down into the mine shaft.
In October, 21 miners died in eastern Shandong province after a rock blast occurred due to pent up pressure causing rocks to fracture…