China has launched nationwide safety inspections on coal mines that are under construction, following several fatal accidents in recent weeks, the country's top economic planning agency said on its website (www.ndrc.gov.cn).
Provincial government agencies overseeing coal industry and investment should work together to determine whether the projects had gone through the proper approval process, and whether the preliminary design would need to be examined, the National Development and Reform Commission said.
Coal mine projects that had started construction without approval, or failed to obtain approval on preliminary design and safety equipment plans, should be halted, it said.
A series of accidents have occurred in the past few weeks at coal mines under construction in Shanxi, Henan and Xinjiang, killing at least 90 people, according to the State Administration of Work Safety. (www.chinasafety.gov.cn)
These deadly accidents highlighted the mine safety issue in China, the world's deadliest, even as industry consolidation has been pushing out small mines that traditionally have been blamed for many of the accidents.
Earlier this month, Beijing launched a two-month safety campaign in all industries, with an emphasis on mines, chemicals, metallurgy, transportation, construction, explosives and so on, which may affect coal production in the next few months.
'This will be especially the case for the projects under construction or coming onstream in the near future,' said a Macquarie research note.
The NDRC also forbade contractors of coal mine projects to cut short the time needed for construction, or to outsource sections of the projects to many sub-contractors, which are both common practices in the industry.