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Nearly 2,000 Collieries Closed Since August

The National Bureau of Production Safety Supervision and Administration said on Monday that nearly 2,000 coal mines have been closed since August in a substantial effort to better protect miners' lives.

There are plans to shut down at least 4,000 coal mines by the end of the year, said a bureau official. "We will assess the crackdown mainly by the number of mines we close."

A crackdown on substandard coal mines was launched in August, following the flooding of Daxing Coal Mine in southern China that claimed 123 lives.

The work safety regulator said the operation of approximately 13,000 collieries had also been suspended in the same period.

Many Chinese coal mines have been operating without legal licenses; 9,000 operating illegally have been closed since the beginning of the year.

(Xinhua News Agency November 22, 2005)

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