BEIJING - Coal-mining deaths in China have fallen 14.3 percent from last year, leaving the total number of fatalities at 1,792 so far in 2007.
Officials with the State Administration of Coal Mine Safety and the State Administration of Work Safety said accidents at coal mines in the first half of 2007 totaled 1,066, down 242 from the same period last year, Xinhua reported Monday.
"Though we have made some progress, we should still be aware of the severe situation regarding coal mine work safety," said SACMS Director Zhao Tiechui.
He added that most coal mine accidents are still being attributed to illegal mining and there was a rise in accidents involving gas explosions.
Zhao ordered the SACMS to continue its progress with work safety supervision, close illegal and small coal mines, and also punish those responsible for accidents harshly.
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