CHINA: The death toll from the collapse of an open-pit coal mine in Inner Mongolia, northern China, has risen to five. Forty-eight people are still reported missing.
The collapse was followed by an additional landslide at the gigantic facility, halting work for several hours.
State media reported that around 900 rescuers with heavy equipment were on the scene, and work had resumed by Thursday morning.
China’s President, Xi Jinping, has demanded efforts to “ensure the safety of people’s lives and property and maintain overall social stability.”
Inner Mongolia Xinjing Coal Industry Co. Ltd., the company responsible for the mining operations, was cited and fined last year for violating multiple safety laws.
According to the media, the violations ranged from insecure access routes to the mining surface, improper storage of volatile materials, and a lack of personnel training for its safety overseers.
Inner Mongolia is crucial for mining coal, minerals, and rare earth metals. Environmental activists say mining activities have ravaged the region’s original landscape.
Although China overwhelmingly relies on coal for power generation, the country has tried to reduce the number of deadly mine accidents by emphasising safety and closing smaller operations that lack the necessary equipment.
Most deaths in China’s mining industry are attributed to explosions caused by methane and coal dust buildup.
China has recorded a series of deadly industrial and construction accidents in recent months due to poor safety training and regulation, corruption by officials, and a tendency for companies to cut corners to make profits.
The economy has slowed down, partly due to the draconian lockdowns and quarantines imposed under the now-abandoned “zero COVID” policy.
Despite the measures put in place to improve safety in the workplace, deadly accidents continue to occur at workplaces like coal mines, leaving many concerned about the lack of real change.
The latest collapse at the open pit coal mine in Inner Mongolia has once again highlighted the dangerous working conditions of miners in China.
The country’s focus on profit over safety continues to cause harm to both workers and the environment as companies extract valuable resources from the earth.
It is a problem that will only continue to escalate unless fundamental changes are made to ensure the safety of those who work in dangerous conditions.
As the search for the missing continues, the families of the coal mine tragedy victims are left to mourn and wonder if their loved ones’ deaths could have been prevented by adequately implementing safety measures.
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