Accidental detonation traps 34 coal miners

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 14 June, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 14 June, 2008, 12:00am

At least 34 miners were trapped inside a licensed coal mine in Luliang , Shanxi province , after a blast yesterday morning.

A city official said 58 miners were working in the pit when explosives inside the mine were accidentally detonated at about 11am.

The official said 15 workers managed to flee, and nine were rescued later in the day.

But she said she had no information about any injuries.

The coal mine in Xiabao town is a licensed operation, but its licence has not been reviewed for operation this year. The owners of the mine were in the custody of local police, according to the official. She said top city government officials had arrived at the site to direct rescue operations. The cause of the blast was still under investigation.

The province in the north, which accounts for one-third of the mainland's coal output, is notorious for mine accidents.

Miners are often forced to work in unlicensed mines set up by unscrupulous operators, who collude with corrupt local officials.

An energy shortage has prompted Shanxi to increase production and speed up delivery to other provinces.

Thousands of coal miners are killed each year on the mainland as profit-driven operators show little regard for safety standards.