Update: Top work safety watchdog dispatches investigation team to Shandong to probe Qixia goldmine accident
Published: Jan 27, 2021 09:48 AM

Photo: Cui Meng/GT

China's top work safety watchdog summoned officials from the Shandong provincial government on Wednesday over the Qixia goldmine incident, which has caused 10 deaths to date, urging them to profoundly reflect on the tragedy and draw lessons from it. 

The Work Safety Committee under the State Council, China's cabinet, demanded local authorities to enhance measures in ensuring safety production and prevent such similar accidents from happening again. 

The mine explosion in Qixia took place on January 10, trapping 22 miners underground. As of Tuesday, 11 miners had been brought to the surface safely, with 10 confirmed dead and one still missing. The rescued miners are receiving treatment at Qixia People's Hospital.

According to the meeting with the top watchdog, the Ministry of Emergency Management dispatched an inspection team led by the deputy director of the national mining safety production bureau to investigate the delay in reporting the incident, holding personnel in charge accountable and giving feedback to the relatives of the victims and the whole of society. 

The incident occurred as local authorities delayed and concealed it, which severely affected the efficiency of rescue work, causing significant losses. The meeting gave a preliminary analysis on the problems that were exposed, including lack of a crackdown on illegal activities and an insufficient rescue and emergency-response mechanism, which all needed to be fixed. 

Top authorities also urged enterprises to implement safety production guidelines and follow new amendments to the Criminal Law on safety production while enhancing rule of law at grass-root levels, and strictly implement the risk classification control and active reporting system. 

Four days before China's top work safety watchdog summoned the local officials, Premier Li Keqiang also made remarks in a video conference on work safety, saying that no one should relax on the matter, and authorities should thoroughly inspect all the potential risks. 

In 2020, a total of 122 mine incidents occurred nationwide, resulting in 225 deaths, a year-on-year drop of 28.8 percent in death toll, with zero gas mining accident, the first time this has happened since 1949, according to media reports.