China Extends Gas Safety Campaign to Big Coal Mines


China has extended a safety campaign to address the hidden dangers of coalbed methane from small mines to medium- and large-sized coal mines, the country's top economic planner said on Tuesday.

The fatal gas explosions in Shanxi's Tunlan mine in February and Chongqing's Tonghua mine just last month exposed weaknesses in gas treatment and loopholes in management in medium- and large-sized coal mines, the National Development and Reform Commission said on its website (

Explosions from gas built up in mines are a major safety threat to China's coal industry.

Beijing announced a gas safety campaign in mines with annual production capacity of 300,000 tonnes in April, and now said mines with higher capacity will also be targeted.

Small mines that do not meet safety standards for gas treatment by September 2010 will be shut down.

The campaign aims to prevent gas explosions of high fatality, and increasing the extraction and use of coalbed methane, a largely uptapped source of energy.

"By end of 2010, 18 mining areas with annual gas extraction of over 100 million cubic metres should be established," the NDRC said in the statement.

China said it holds 36 trillion cubic metres in reserves of the gas, the world's third-largest after Russia and Canada, but it pumped 5.8 billion cubic metres (bcm) from underground and used only 1.8 bcm.
Source: Reuters
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