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  Coal mine fatalities spark safety guidelines
       
       OFFICIALS are investigating the fatal gas explosions in two
of China's coal mines -- to identify their causes and determine
responsibility.
       
       The officials, including experts from the ministries of
labour, coal industry and supervision, are already in Anhui
Province, probing the explosions that killed dozens of miners,
confirmed Ministry of Coal Industry sources.
       
       China's coal mine administrators are required, by related
ministry officials, to attend an emergency meeting on production
safety in Beijing, sources told China Daily yesterday.
       
       The one-day session is being held today to find ways of
preventing such tragedies in future.
       
       The move is in response to two fatal accidents in coal mines
under the Huainan Coal Mining Administration, Anhui Province.
       
       Forty-five miners died in a gas explosion in Xie'er Coal
Mine on November 27. On November 13, 89 miners, including two
rescue workers, were killed in a similar explosion in Pansan Coal
Mine.
       
       Officials of both coal mining administrations will be
demoted or face criminal charges if deemed responsible for the
fatalities, the sources said.
       
       It's unclear when the investigation's findings will be made
public.
       
       Coal Industry Minister Wang Senhao severely criticized
Huainan Coal Mining Administration officials for weak leadership
regarding production safety, Worker's Daily reported yesterday.
       
       Alarmed by recent accidents within the industry, the
Ministry of Labour and the State Economic and Trade Commission
(SETC) issued a circular on Tuesday.
       
       It urges industry officials to promote production safety in
State-owned coal mines.
       
       Twelve serious incidents, each claiming at least 10 lives,
have been reported in State-owned coal mines this year, the
circular indicated.
       
       More than 50 people were killed in each of two accidents.
       
       With the exception of one incident, caused by water leakage,
all accidents involved gas explosions, People's Daily reported
yesterday.
       
       Four serious gas explosions occurred last month, the
circular noted. An explosion at Yueliangtian Mine in Guizhou
Province killed 43 miners on November 4.
       
       Twenty-eight miners were killed in a gas explosion in
Jiaoping Coal Mine in Shaanxi Province on November 27.
       
       Lack of attention towards safety details and lax management
have been deemed primary factors in the accidents, the circular
said.
       
       The situation was worse in the Huainan Coal Mining
Administration, with two major gas explosions within half a month,
People's Daily reported.
       
       Industry reforms, development and stability have been
affected by the accidents and must be investigated, the circular
said.
       
       Leadership, supervision and management of State-owned coal
mines must be strengthened, while attention is paid to production
order and safety of rural coal mines, which used to be major
complaints.
       
       
       Cadres responsible for the accidents will be dealt with in
accordance with State laws and regulations.
_____________________________________________________________
       
       _Date: 12/04/97_
       _Author: Xie Liangjun_
       _Copyright© by China Daily_
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