China’s coal mines report steady safety improvement
Production safety of China’s coal mines has continuously improved over the past 20 years, with thorough safety supervision and better industrial structure.
The death toll in coal mine accidents declined from 6,995 in 2002 to 333 in 2018, down 95.2 percent, while the number of major accidents dropped to two in 2018, 97.4 percent lower from the reading of 76 in 1999.
China established a vertical supervision system in coal mine safety in 1999, involving governments at various levels.
Supervision authorities nationwide have completed 139,000 inspections since 2012, investigating 817,000 general safety risks, 5,369 major safety risks and halting production of 3,360 operations.
The country optimized the industrial structure by shutting down small coal mines failing to meet safe production requirements. The number of coal mines was reduced from 34,000 in 2000 to 5,700 in 2018, with total annual capacity almost tripling from 1999.
The mechanization rate of coal mine production has reached 78.5 percent, said Shang Dengying, an official with the National Coal Mine Safety Administration.
China has taken measures to improve the underground working environment and will introduce robotics technology to facilitate increased safety levels.