China's Inner Mongolia closes 341 mines for safety

The OHS authority in China's Inner Mongolia autonomous region has shut down 205 non-coal mines and ordered 136 others to suspend operations in a six-month campaign to boost safety supervision in the resource-rich region.

"Illegal operations have prominently existed in Inner Mongolia's non-coal mining sector for years," the regional government's work safety bureau announced. "The campaign has ensured safe mining and protected lives."

The work safety watchdog also warned that local government officials would face severe penalties if fatal accidents occur in illegally-operated mines under their watch, the Xinhua news agency stated.

The non-coal sector may include mines of iron ore and rare earth, of which Inner Mongolia has rich reserves. The region also holds the country's largest coal reserves, or 741.4 Bt. It produced 787 Mt last year, supplanting Shanxi province as the top coal producer.