Explosions caused by coal dust are amongst the worst mining accidents in history. Necessary conditions for a dust explosion include a high concentration of combustible dust, an oxidant and an ignition source. Listed below are some of the world’s worst mining disasters caused by coal dust explosions.
1) Benxihu, China
In April 1942, the Benxihu colliery in China suffered a massive dust-explosion that killed 1,549 workers. This equated to over 30 per cent of the workforce. The victims were both Chinese and Japanese. The mine had originally started as a joint iron and coal mining project between the Japanese and Chinese in 1905, but then became more and more under Japanese control. The Benxihu Colliery disaster remains the worst mining disaster in the world.
2) Courrières, France
A total of 1,099 miners, including many children who were working in the mine, died on 10th March 1906 in Northern France. A dust explosion caused this accident, which remains the worst mining disaster in Europe. The source of ignition of the dust explosion, however is still unknown. The Courrières mining disaster was one of the first to be reported in the mass media.
3) Senghenydd, Wales
On the 14th October 1914, a small town in South Wales experienced the UK’s worst recorded mining accident. The death total of the Senghenydd Colliery mining disaster reached 440.
The accident was caused by an explosion, which in turn was caused by the ignition of a number of flammable natural gases found in coal mines. This build up of flammable gases had been ignited by electrical sparking and resulted in an explosion. Those mine workers who were not killed in this explosion were killed soon after due to toxic gases which formed after the blast.
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Date Published: November 17, 2013
Author: David Brown