Mining accidents kill 10 in China amid safety crackdown

BEIJING (AP) — Nine workers were killed in northern China during an operation to destroy expired mining explosives, while one miner died and seven others were reportedly trapped by an explosion in a mine in the country’s southwest, underscoring the country’s challenges as it attempts to improve industrial safety.

The blast in Hebei province that borders the capital, Beijing, left three other workers injured on Wednesday, the Chicheng county government said in a notice on its microblog.

The workers had been part of a crew tasked with destroying the explosives, which can become unstable over time and unsafe to use. They had been stored by a Beijing-based coal mining company, according to media reports.

The Chicheng county government notice said an investigation has begun into the cause of the accident, which comes amid a push to improve safety in China’s mining industry, one of the world’s deadliest, due in part to the mishandling of materials. Increased supervision has reduced the number of major deadly accidents, although high demand for raw materials, especially coal, continues to lead to safety lapses.

Separately, one miner was killed and seven others were trapped after accumulated gas ignited in Guizhou province on Friday morning, according to state media. Rescue operations were underway, the reports said.

The safety crackdown was ordered last year after two accidents in mountainous southwestern Chongqing killed 39 miners. Despite that, 10 workers were killed at a gold mine in the northern province of Shandong in January after a cave-in caused by the improper storage and use of explosives.