2008-07-09 16:22:32 GMT 2008-07-10 00:22:32 (Beijing Time) Xinhua English
SHENYANG, July 9 (Xinhua) -- China will close more than 4,000 small coal mines to reduce their total number to below 10,000 by 2010, said a coal mine safety official on Wednesday.
"The large number of small coal mines remains a threat to production safety," said Zhao Tiechui, head of the State Administration of Coal Mine Safety. He urged coal-rich provinces, regions and municipalities to close more of these small mines and make sure they stay closed, while fostering larger mines.
Zhao said this at a meeting on treating coal mine gas, held in the capital city of northeast China's Liaoning Province.
China has about 16,000 coal mines, 90 percent of which are small, and their safety record is far worse than large operations. For each 1 million tonnes of coal produced, the death toll at small mines is eight times that of large state-owned ones.