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China Tightens Rules on Reopening Coal Mines After Accidents

China, the world’s biggest producer and user of coal, tightened standards for reopening suspended mines, according to a statement from the State Council.

Mines that don’t meet the necessary safety requirements shouldn’t resume operations under any conditions, the council said in yesterday’s statement, citing illegal reopenings as the cause of several deadly accidents recently.

China suspended operations at smaller coal mines earlier this month to boost safety ahead of a once-in-a-decade leadership transition, and policy makers are moving to improve standards after spate of accidents. Eighteen people were killed yesterday at a mine in the southwestern province of Guizhou.

Small mines with little resources and that don’t meet safety standards shouldn’t easily receive permits to reopen, the council said. Larger mines without necessary safety technology should consider merging with bigger companies that do, it said.

China’s raw-coal production climbed 4.9 percent to 2.5 billion tons in the first eight months of the year, according to China Coal Resource data. In 2010, China recorded 2,433 coal-mine deaths, 7.5 percent fewer than a year earlier, according to the State Administration of Work Safety.

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