A gas explosion in a coal mine in China’s northeastern province of Liaoning has killed as many as 203 miners in the worst disaster to hit the country’s disaster-plagued mining industry in at least 15 years.
China’s mining industry is the world’s biggest and its most deadly.
China’s coal mines, which provide the main fuel for the world’s seventh-biggest economy, have an appalling safety record underscored by a series of major accidents last year, several within days of each other at the end of the year.
Last year, at least 5,000 people were killed in mining accidents.
China last year produced 35 percent of the world’s coal but reported 80 percent of global deaths in colliery accidents at a rate of three fatalities per million tons of coal.
The average Chinese miner produced 321 tons of coal — just 2.2 percent of what a miner in the more mechanized United States produced and 8.1 percent of what a miner in South Africa produced.
But the death rate in Chinese mines is 100 times that of U.S. mines and 30 times that of South African mines