BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s National Coal Mine Safety Administration said it has set a production cap of 8 million tonnes of coal a year for each mine deemed to be at risk from so-called “bumps”.
As part of the measure to improve safety, capacity expansion on such mines will also be banned once they are in operation, the safety watchdog said in a statement on Wednesday.
The announcement follows a coal mine accident in the eastern province of Shandong last October in which 21 people died. Coal mining safety in China remains poor, with several deadly accidents every year, despite frequent inspections and support from Beijing to improve conditions.
Bumps occur when rock and coal erupt from the side of a mine shaft or tunnel under pressure from overhead rock.
China has 400 million tonnes a year in coal mining capacity at risk for bumps, accounting for more than 10 percent of the country’s total 3.53 billion tonnes of coal capacity, according to official data.
Nearly two-thirds of the mines at risk for bumps are located in regions with lean coal resources, making them key to ensuring sufficient coal supply in those areas.
The safety watchdog also ordered coal companies to limit the number of workers entering such mines and to strictly forbid overproduction.
Last week, the country’s state planner urged local governments to tighten approvals of coal mines at risk for bumps, and to curb production or shut down those with a high risk by end-2019.
Reporting by Muyu Xu and Shivani Singh; Editing by Joseph Radford and Tom Hogue