MineARC Systems, a leading refuge chamber manufacturer, has been invited to attend a special mine safety conference in Shanxi Province, China, on May 18-19. The event, headed by the Chinese State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS), will feature 11 of China’s leading coal mining companies. Representatives will review the current interim refuge chamber regulations and present their products to attendees. It is anticipated that a RMB2 billion government funding initiative will be announced at the conference, which will support mining companies’ purchases of chambers for pre selected ‘trial’ mines.MineARC is up against rival manufacturers from both China and overseas in the bid to secure orders, but is understood to be the only refuge chamber manufacturer with a ‘market-ready’ refuge model on display at the Shanxi conference.Last month a refuge chamber technical appraisal meeting was held in Fushun City, Liaoning Province, hosted by the Deputy Director General of the Planning and Technology Bureau of SAWS, Xueqiu He.At this meeting, a modular version of MineARC’s CoalSAFE Refuge model became the first in China to be certified by SAWS as ‘approved’ for manufacture and sale into Chinese coal mines. This approval is prior to the official publication of China’s own refuge chamber regulations, and was fast tracked specifically for the ‘trial’ mines program.At the meeting, He was joined by a number of China’s leading scientists and engineers including two members of China’s National Academy of Engineering: Liang Yuan, a professor from Huai Nan Mining Conglomerate, Suping Peng, the Director of National Key Laboratory on Coal Resource and Safety and Yuan Qingguo, Director of National Mining Products Safety Approval and Certification Center.In the US the CoalSAFE Refuge is currently the only model built to industry best standards: MSHA’s ‘Final Rule’ 30CFR §7.503 (Refuge Alternatives in Underground Coal Mines) which itself formed the basis for China’s own refuge chamber regulations.MineARC Managing Director Geoff Whittaker: “We’ve long been confident that we have the safest, most reliable, most advanced coal refuge model on the market in CoalSAFE. We’ve now sold or have orders for over 110 CoalSAFE units in the US market thanks largely to the impact of MHSA’s tighter regulations. China from the start has looked to the US in developing its own benchmark.”MineARC is set to sign a full joint venture agreement with its Chinese partner – SYCCRI in June, creating MineARC (Fushun) Safety Equipment Manufacturing. The company is servicing the entire Chinese market from a temporary manufacturing facility in Fushun whilst brand new manufacturing and office facilities are under construction at the new Shenfu City economic development zone.The new facility (phase 1 of 4) will have the capability of manufacturing up to 300 CoalSAFE units a month whilst employing over 400 people. MineARC General Manager Mike Lincoln is now based full time in Fushun, heading up the joint venture operation and leading the new team.