Chinese to make sweeping cuts to non-coal mines in safety effort

Reported in the South China Morning Post, China will shut 6,000 non-coal mines in an effort to reduce mining accidents and deaths by 2020, the State Administration of Work Safety said in a five-year plan. Beijing will seek to reduce major accidents by 15% by 2020 from 2015 levels in the non-coal mining sector, the work safety body said in a statement last Friday. More than 500 people died in non-coal mining accidents in 2015. The toll has fallen by more than 50% since 2010.

“While mining companies are under transformation, some of them don’t have sufficient funding and manpower to keep safety running in mines, which leaves high safety risks,” the work safety body said. Under the plan, China will improve safety legislation and intensify mine inspections. Authorities say there were some 37,000 illegal non-coal mines in 2015. China has vowed to accelerate closing small-scale coal mines with an annual production capacity of 90,000 t or less.