China will conduct nationwide safety checks on coal mines this year to prevent major accidents, the State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS) said Thursday.
The examination will last from March until the end of the year and cover both operational mines and those previously ordered to suspend production.
Also checked will be collieries required to close as part of government plans to cut capacity but which are still operating.
The move came after a string of tragic accidents. A gas explosion killed seven people and injured 11 in southwest China's Guizhou Province earlier this week.
Coal mine safety was "complicated and grim," the SAWS said.
About 60 percent of China's coal mines are small collieries with production of less than 300,000 tonnes a year, according to Huang Yuzhi, director of the State Administration of Coal Mine Safety affiliated with SAWS, in January.
Outdated equipment, lack of technicians and weak management at those mines mean nearly 80 percent of severe accidents occur in these mines.