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Closure of Taiwan mines urged after 260 fatalities

Economic Minister Hsu Li-teh called Thursday for the closure of all Taiwan's coal mines on grounds that three major disasters have killed 260 workers in the past six months.

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''As far as safety and economic value are concerned, Taiwan's coal mines seem to have lost their usefulness. The only way to stop future disasters is to close all mines,'' he said in a report to parliament.

He said Taiwan imported nearly 7 million tons of coal a year, while its 125 mines produced only about 2.1 million tons last year.

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