China’s central government will require provincial governments to make stricter safety checks before allowing coal mines to restart operations after a nationwide suspension of mining operations in October and November for the Party Congress, according to a government notice published Nov. 26.
The announcement comes after 22 miners lost their lives during a gas explosion at a coal mine on Nov. 24, and another two were killed in a separate incident a week earlier, Platts reported.
In future, local officials will be required to take responsibility for approving the reopening of closed mines, according to the notice.
In addition, small mines, which are still considered unsafe, will not immediately be allowed to restart, and be asked to either shut down or merged into larger companies.
The move comes after the Chinese central government imposed production controls for the country’s coal production in October and November.
The initiative was aimed at reducing coal mine accidents during the country’s Party Congress November 8-14.
But a gas build-up at a coal mine in southwest China’s Guizhou province lead to at least 22 miners suffocating, according to China's official news agency Xinhua.
The accident took place at Xiangshui coal mine, which is owned by Guizhou Panjiang Investment Holding Group, and has a combined designed capacity of 4 Mt/a (4.4 million stpy). The accident occurred at a part of the mine with a total annual capacity of 1 Mt/a (1.1 million stpy), while another area is still under construction with the aim of producing 3 Mt/a (3.3 million stpy).
The recovery of domestic Chinese coal supply following the extended Congress-related outage is expected to be further delayed as a consequence, market sources told Platts.
In a separate incident, Shanxi-based Lu'an Group suffered from a collapse at one of its metallurgical coal mines Nov. 21, killing two.