High Officials Frustrated with China's Coal Mine Disasters

February 23, 2005

High-level officials in Chinese government departments such as the State Administration of Coal Mine Safety are palpably frustrated at recent coal mine disasters, and given more authority would exert more influence to correct the problems, according to recent commentary by Stephen Frost of Asian Labor News. China’s current mine safety problems lie at lower levels of government, and with the failure of many mine owners to invest in appropriate safety equipment, Frost says.

Noting that news media coverage of the recent Sunjiawan mine disaster was excellent, Frost compiled statistics about coal mine industry deaths in an article published in the CSR Asia Weekly, Vol I, Week 8. Frost’s article includes tables listing coal mine deaths in 2004 by province and by cause of death, and he also provides lists of comparative statistics on coal mine deaths in Australia, Russia, South Africa, Ukraine, and the United States. Other useful lists in the article compare all industrial deaths in China with those resulting from coal mine accidents, rank the Chinese provinces with the highest coal mine death rates (Liaoning province ranked ninth), describe the causes of coal mine disasters, and catalogue the laws and regulations governing coal mining in China.