China plans close 6,000 non-coal mines by 2020 to improve safety


The Chinese Government is planning to close 6,000 non-coal mines by 2020, in a move aimed at reducing mining accidents and deaths, according to Reuters. 

The country’s work safety body State Administration of Work Safety stated in its five-year plan document that a 15% reduction in the occurrence of major accidents is expected to be achieved by 2020 from 2015 levels in the non-coal mining sector. 

Accidents resulting from non-coal mining operations led to the death of around 500 people in 2015, a decrease of more than 50% of industrial fatalities since 2010, the news agency reported.

State Administration of Work Safety was quoted by the news agency as saying: "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." 

"Some mining companies don’t have sufficient funding and manpower to keep safety running in mines, which leaves high safety risks."

Towards the implementation of the plan under consideration, the government is contemplating a number of measures such as amendments to improve safety legislation and keeping in place stringent mine inspections.

In 2015, there were around 37,000 illegal non-coal mines, according to the news agency. 

Under a plan declared in June, China is looking to speed-up the closure of small-scale coal mines that have a production capacity of 90,000t or less per annum.

The government is committed to replacing coal with natural gas as an energy source.