16 dead in China mine collapse

16 dead in China mine collapse

A coal mine shaft has collapsed in north-west China, killing 16 miners, officials said.

Another 11 were injured in the disaster in Tiechanggou township, outside the Xinjiang regional capital of Urumqi.

Thirty-three miners were in the shaft when the accident occurred, six of whom were brought out by rescuers, said an official with the State Administration of Work Safety.

He said the injured were in stable condition and that the cause of the cave-in was under investigation.

State broadcaster CCTV showed footage of injured miners sitting up in hospital beds and describing their experiences to a reporter.

China’s mines are among the most dangerous in the world, although improved safety measures have vastly lowered the number of fatalities in recent years.

The government’s China National Coal Administration reported 1,067 deaths in 604 coal mining accidents last year, down 23% from the year before and 6,000 lower than a decade ago, largely due to increased inspections and the closure of small and unregulated mines.

The decline has coincided with easing demand for coal as the Chinese economy cools from the heights of the last few years.

While China still produces and consumes almost as much coal as the rest of the world combined, the amount it burned in the first three-quarters of this year was down by about 2% from the same period last year, according to Greenpeace energy analysts.

That came despite slower but still robust economic growth of 7.4% during the same period, showing that China’s economy is becoming more efficient in its energy use.

Widespread use of coal is largely blamed for the choking smog that envelops major cities in the country.

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