Coal Mining

Published on Author fielda17

On Friday, a coal mine collapse just outside the Xinjiang regional capital of Urumqi killed 16 miners and injured 11.  The accident, the cause of which is still under investigation, is indicative of a larger problem in China.  The Associated Press calls China’s coal mines some of the most dangerous in the world, with over 1,000 deaths resulting from more than 600 accidents in 2013.  Lax regulations and subpar safety standards have resulted in dangerous conditions for the nation’s miners.  In an effort to reduce the number of accidents and injuries each year China plans to shut down 2,000 small scale mines by 2015.

China Mining Photo

Despite safety concerns, China is by far the largest consumer and producer of coal each year, consuming and producing almost as much as rest of the world combined.  Yet, coal consumption in China is predicted to plateau as the country’s robust economic growth slows from double digit growth to roughly 7% per annum.  Reduced coal consumption for the developing country would likely have positive benefits for the economy, including reduced smog and pollution.


4 Responses to Coal Mining

  1. My grandfather was a coal miner in Western P.A. for 30+ years. I remember him always stressing the fact that lax government regulations led to accidents at several non-union mines early on. If China wants safer mines they will need stricter government regulations and safety protocols at the mines.

  2. Not only is this indicative of problems with regulation on industry, but of the myriad of problems that are partnered with early industrialization. Coal is dirty, causes pollution, and is linked with high accident rates. This sort of incident should be part of the discussion within China to move towards cleaner, safer fuels and industry.

  3. Watch the Chinese movie Blind Shaft [PN1997 .B67158 2003, Leyburn-Main-DVD] for depictions of coal mining and migration in China. I don’t want to spoil the plot, so won’t say more. Of course we also saw a sequence in Heart of the Dragon

  4. I would be curious to see what type of investments the Chinese government is making in alternative energy. With the reduction of coal as an energy source, it will need to still fuel its growth (even if it is slowing).