/ 14 June 2008

China blast kills 27 coal miners, seven trapped

Twenty-seven miners were killed and another seven remained trapped after an explosion in a Chinese coal mine, state media said on Saturday.

The explosion in a facility of Anxin Coal Mining in China’s northern Shanxi province occurred on Friday morning, when 58 miners were working underground, the official Xinhua agency said. Fifteen miners had managed to escape, and another nine were rescued, it added.

”Explosives” blew up at the bottom of the shaft at the mine in Luliang in the coal-rich province, initially trapping 43, Xinhua had reported on Friday, citing local officials.

The mine’s licences and certificates were valid and it passed a safety inspection earlier this year, the report added.

China, the world’s largest producer and consumer of coal, has the world’s deadliest mining industry. A total of 3 786 Chinese coal miners died in gas blasts, flooding and other accidents in 2007, down 20% from 2006.

China has been battling to improve standards in its mines, but accidents are common as owners push production beyond safety limits to meet robust demand to fuel the country’s economic boom.

A landslide on a mountain in Luliang killed at least 19 workers at a rural brick factory, with one worker rescued, Xinhua also reported on Saturday. It added that another two people remain trapped, according to rescuers.

Rescue work has been temporarily suspended as there were signs of potential landslides nearby, Xinhua added.

More than 300 rescuers and 20 earthmoving machines have been mobilised in the search for the missing, the report said. – Reuters