China: Rescue Continues for 18 Trapped Miners

Rescue efforts to free 18 trapped workers continued Sunday after a mine collapsed on Saturday in China's Yining county — approximately 60 miles from the shared border with Kazakhstan — with 40 people working inside.

China: Rescue Continues for 18 Trapped Miners
Image credit: Xinhua News/AP [via Al Jazeera]

Facts

  • Rescue efforts to free 18 trapped workers continued Sunday after a mine collapsed on Saturday in China's Yining county — approximately 60 miles from the shared border with Kazakhstan — with 40 people working inside.
  • Following the collapse, officials in the Xinjiang region deployed over 300 rescue workers, around 80 rescue vehicles, and over 400 pieces of equipment, saving 22 people. Rescuers have also completed an examination of roadway blockage, wind flow, and gas conditions of the collapsed area.
  • Lu Wei, security director of the Xinjiang Nonferrous Metal Industry, said, "At present, the location of the trapped workers has been determined and ventilation has been ensured."
  • The Ministry of Emergency Management sent a work group to the region to oversee the rescue operation. The group, along with Wei, have reported that the conditions for rescue are difficult, with Wei saying, "the rocks around the spot affected by the accident are not stable."
  • The cause of the mine collapse is still unknown.
  • China has held its position as the world's top producer of gold for the last 10 years. While mining conditions have improved over the years, accidents still occur frequently, especially in rural areas with rudimentary systems.

Sources: Al Jazeera, Global Times, China Daily, and DW.

Narratives

  • Anti-China narrative, as provided by CLB. While workplace safety has improved over the years, it's still a huge concern in China. Lax and inadequate regulations leave employers free to ignore their obligations, resulting in thousands of injuries and fatalities each year in the country. With many companies putting profit before safety, accidents occur in a broad range of industries, from construction to delivery drivers to mining. This will only continue as China rushes to maintain its top producer status.
  • Pro-China narrative, as provided by Bloomberg. China has cracked down significantly on unsafe mining practices but some companies have, by their own accord, slipped through the cracks. Meanwhile, Beijing's commitment to workplace safety isn't without consequences, as tighter oversight has been linked to a decline in production, which not only has domestic repercussions but also global ones. Beijing, faced with having to balance safety with economic security, is right to proceed cautiously.
  • Cynical narrative, as provided by Mining Technology. Europe has become an energy slave to Russia, and now the west is vulnerable to becoming a slave to China because of its mineral resources. Beijing dominates the global market with its mining output and, in 2020, produced 85% of the world's rare earth refined products. The US has fallen behind and must tread carefully.