- Title: CHINA: Country remains home to world's deadliest mining industry
- Date: 16th October 2010
- Summary: BEIJING, CHINA (OCTOBER 15, 2010) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF HU XINGDOU, PROFESSOR OF ECONOMICS AND CHINA ISSUES AT THE BEIJING INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY, WALKING ALONG ROAD (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) HU XINGDOU, PROFESSOR OF ECONOMICS AND CHINA ISSUES AT THE BEIJING INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY, SAYING: "I think that first the information has to be open and transparent. The situation in the Chilean mine was, from the start, broadcast to the world. In the past in China, as soon as a disaster would happen, information was blocked from the media."
- Embargoed: 31st October 2010 12:00
- Location: China
- Country: China
- Topics: Industry
- Reuters ID: LVADSN5F7X09XGLFYG3KHY3PLTA4
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: As news of the successful rescue of 33 Chilean miners spread around the world, mining communities are looking at their own machinery and equipment and past experience with similar mining disasters.
China, home to the worlds' deadliest mining industry, could learn valuable lessons from Chile's approach in handling the disaster, not least in their approach to the media, experts say.
Few mine disasters in China are permitted an equal level of media access, said Hu Xingdou, professor of Economics and China Issues at Beijing Institute of Technology.
"I think that first the information has to be open and transparent. The situation in the Chilean mine was, from the start, broadcast to the world. In the past in China, as soon as a disaster happened, information was blocked from the media," he said.
China is frequently hit by mine disasters, mostly in coal mines, which killed 2,631 people last year. This amounts to an average of seven deaths a day.
In April this year, China hailed it's own miracle rescue in northern Shanxi province when 115 miners were pulled alive from a flooded mine after being trapped for over a week.
But not all of China's miners are so lucky.
The government has tried to improve safety but efforts have been hampered by the widespread flouting of rules in the rush to extract natural resources to feed China's booming economy.
"Perhaps we have a few places where the government bureau and the supervisory office unlawfully neglect their duty, also some government leaders hold shares in coal mines so they turn a blind eye to the illegal operations," Hu said.
Coal-mining tends to be extremely dangerous because of the likely presence of methane, a toxic asphyxiating gas that can be explosive, depending on the concentration.
China is the world's largest coal producer and consumer but the booming industry pays little attention to its 5.5 million coal miners, who are tempted into the mines by wages that can be much higher than for many other jobs open to blue-collar workers and rural migrants.
"Our leaders still attach little importance to the mine disasters, in their hearts there is still no feeling that you must put people first and prioritise the person's life, the still do not think in that way. They place the most importance on increasing the GDP, increasing the economy and growth," Hu said.
China has ordered the consolidation or takeover of many private mines.
It says the shutdown of many of the most dangerous private operations has helped cut accidents.
The official mining death toll has dropped since 2002, which numbered around 7000 deaths.
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