Northern China's Shanxi province on November 19 set up an investigation team to look into a coal mine gas explosion that killed 15 people and injured nine others a day ago.
A total of 35 miners were working underground at the coal mine owned by Fengyan Group in Pingyao county when the blast occurred at 1:50 p.m. November 18, according to the Shanxi Administration of Coal Mine Safety. Eleven miners managed to escape.
Officials of the team blamed the accident on illegal production and said their investigation will be subject to the supervision of the public and media.
Affected by the accident, all coal mining operations in Pingyao have been shut down until further notice. Local washing plants were little affected.
Miners in surrounding areas were yet to be impacted for the time being, but the prospect of a large-scale shutdown for safety inspection looms large across the city and even the province.
Pingyao has a combined coal mining capacity of 5.1 million tonnes per annum, mainly for mid-sulfur hard coking coal. The shutdown is expected to reduce circa 400,000 tonnes of raw coal this month.
The coal mine is identified with low concentration of gas, but preliminary inspection showed it illegally arranged coal pillars in mining sections of blasting faces and connected goaf by explosion, leading to a large amount of gas flowing over from the goaf, which blasted when meeting sparks.
(Writing by Alex Guo Editing by Harry Huo)
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