Monday, November 13, 2006

International Update

This morning brought a fresh crop of international news:


Another coal mine explosion this morning.

Coal mine blast kills 24 miners in northern China

At least 24 miners were killed and 10 others trapped Monday by an explosion in a coal mine in northern China, state media reported, the latest in a string of fatal incidents to hit the country's dangerous mining industry....

The mine was operating illegally in defiance of a government order issued in September to cease production after its safety license expired, CCTV said.

A man who answered the phone at the administrative office of Lingshi's county government said he was "unclear" about the incident and refused to take further questions. The Nanshan mine was not listed in the local telephone directory.

Also Monday, the death toll in another coal mine explosion in the same province climbed by 12 to 35, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

Twelve more miners were still missing from the Nov. 5 gas blast at the Jiaojiazhai mine in Xinzhou

At the same time we learn a Chinese mine safety official has been sentenced to prison for taking bribes:

A former official of the Shanxi Provincial Coal Mine Safety Supervision Administration has been sentenced to 13 years behind bars for taking huge bribes and possessing huge mount of property with unproven sources, court source said Sunday....

The court found that Diao Min, former chief of the technology and equipment department of the provincial coal mine safety supervision administration, had took bribes totaling 1.01 million yuan (about 126,000 U.S. dollars) plus 8,000 U.S. dollars by taking advantage of his post between 2001 and 2004.

The court found that Diao took the money to help bribers to pass safety examinations and assessment.


A major coal mine roof fall yesterday has killed several and left an uncertain number of miners trapped.

KOTHAGUDEM: Four persons, including an undermanager, were killed as the roof of the oldest underground mines of Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL), caved in near Kothagudem at 8.50 a.m. on Sunday. A foreign national and a mining engineer of a private company, both working on new machinery introduced in the mine, were rescued seven hours after the incident.

No regular miner was on duty at the time of the accident as it was a weekly day off for the coal workers of the project. The roof fall occurred when `continuous miner', the machine provided by `Joy Mining', was about to resume its operations in the day. Six persons, including Thomas N. Kosi (South African national), shuttle car operator of the machine, and Pratap Kumar Sharma, both representing the private company, were inside the mine. They were heading for the 32 dip area when a huge block of the coal seam came down sealing their exit....

Coal workers and union leaders rushed to the spot, but failed to reach the workers trapped in the debris about 1.1 km away from the pithead. The rescue teams reached the spot promptly but it took more than four hours for them to clear their way. P. Sudheerbabu, undermanager, N. Ramji, 47, overman, and K. Ramachander, 37, and P. Buchaiah, 38, both general mazdoors - all from SCCL -- died on the spot. Two bodies could be taken out from the mine. A team of officials from the Safety Department and the company directors were monitoring the salvage operations. The accident was viewed as the worst-ever in Kothagudem area, which was relatively free from such incidents during the past one-and-a half decade....

Another story has six dead:

Six people were killed and many trapped after the roof of a coal mine in south India's Andhra Pradesh caved in Sunday, Indo-Asian News Service reported.

The dead included an employee of an Australian company responsible for maintenance works, according to state-owned Singareni Collieries Company Ltd....

The company has launched rescue operations as hundreds of employees gathered outside.

No information has been available for exactly how many miners being trapped underground.


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