China coal imports to rise following mine deaths

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Supply from Chinese coal mines may be disrupted as the country reels from the deaths of 28 miners over the weekend.

The gas blast was the latest in China’s notoriously unsafe mining industry, and brings the publicly disclosed fatality tally to 97 this month.

According to Bloomberg China may look to increase coal imports as some local production gets curtailed in light of safety concerns.

In 2010 2433 people died in coal mining accidents in China, a rate of almost six workers a day.

China is both the world’s biggest user and producer of coal, but local governments have planned to consolidate thousands of unsafe mines and cut domestic output.

Bloomberg reports the recent accidents may prompt governments to close more pits and delay the start-up of others.

According to Government documents published earlier this month China has set a 2015 target to reduce coal mining deaths by more than 28 per cent.

China coal transport and distribution association director David Fang said the country’s coal production may fall in light of the stricter safety measures.

“Some production may suffer because of increased safety concerns, especially in the south where a lot of these accidents happened,” he said.

“That may drive up imports by coastal regions which get some of their supplies from these mining areas.”

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