More than 11,000 small coal mines have been closed as part of Beijing’s two-year initiative to improve the industry’s safety record, AP reported. The 11,155 closures represent 45% of the total number of small mines earmarked for removal. Accidents in these mines are responsible for most of the fatalities in China’s mining industry, which claimed 3,786 lives in 2007. This was an improvement on 2006 but still the worst record globally. Official reasons for the closures include failure to obtain proper permits or safety equipment, causing unnecessary environmental damage and exclusion from government economic plans. According to Li Yizhong, director of the State Administration of Workplace Safety, mines closed since the safety initiative began in mid-2005 represented 250 million tons of production capacity. Total coal production in 2007 was 2.5 billion tons.