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Coal Mining Accidents Tests China’s Control of Its Cheapest Fuel

  • Government juggling responses to fatalities and surging prices
  • Futures react to cold winter, economic rebound, import curbs
Ambulances outside the Songzao Coal Mine near Chongqing, on Sept. 27.
Ambulances outside the Songzao Coal Mine near Chongqing, on Sept. 27.Photographer: AFP/Getty Images
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At China’s biggest coal event in the mining hub of Shanxi, the industry’s top executives signed deals over three days for more coal than other nations typically use in a year.

But the bustling deal-making signals deeper problems in a market vital to the smooth-running of the world’s second-biggest economy. A series of deadly mining accidents has hit output, while self-imposed import restrictions -- including on key supplier Australia -- limit shipments from overseas.