Ninety one thousand coal miners died last year. Shocking though that figure is it is the first time since 1995 that the official death toll has dropped below 100,000, the State Administration of Work Safety says. It is also a 15% drop in deaths over 2007, but the number of serious accidents was up by 37%.
By way of comparison 37 times as many miners die in China for each tonne of coal dug as do in the U.S.
Xinhua reports that 1,054 illegal mines were closed last year in a safety crackdown but that 80% of the country’s mines, producing a third of the country’s coal, remain illegal — and deadly.