October 22, 2018 / 11:44 AM / a month ago

China's Shandong halts 41 coal mines after accident

The entrance to a coal mine, owned by Shandong Energy Group Cp Ltd, is seen after an accident, in Yuncheng county, Shandong province, China October 21, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer

BEIJING (Reuters) - Authorities in eastern China’s Shandong province ordered 41 coal mines to halt production for security checks, state-run Xinhua news agency reported on Monday, after an accident at a mine in the province killed three people.

The accident on Sunday occurred at a coal mine operated by Shandong Energy, China’s second largest producer.

Total capacity at the 41 mines ordered to halt output was not known, but the crackdown on safety comes ahead of winter, the most important coal consumption season.

Shandong, one of the country’s top coal consuming regions, is working to reduce demand for coal by forcing heavy industry to get rid of coal-fired boilers and is also closing some coal-fired power plants.

China’s thousands of coal mines are notorious for their poor safety record and the latest incident raises fresh questions about whether producers followed strict rules on exploration as they ramped up output.

The accident on Sunday was caused after a rock burst and destroyed part of a water drainage tunnel in the coal mine, Xinhua said. Twenty-one workers were still trapped in the mine on Monday.

Reporting by Tom Daly and Meng Meng; Editing by Susan Fenton

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