The central Government sent a delegation to Guangxi province yesterday to investigate allegations that local leaders are covering up a mining accident that might have left 200 miners trapped underground. Local officials maintain the accident never happened. 'State Industrial Safety Supervision Administration deputy head Wang Dexue has arrived in Nanning and is expected to visit the tin mine at Nandan county tomorrow,' Guangxi Work Safety Department official Chen Fuqing said. An aide of Mr Wang has already visited Chehe township, where the No 105 tin mine is located. The visit came after a front page report in the China Daily fuelled speculation that there had been an official cover-up of the disaster. 'County authorities have not taken action because the tin mines are the major source of local income,' said the China Daily, which claimed the mine should have been shut because of poor management. Citing a Nandan resident surnamed Lu, the paper said: 'Local television reported on Monday that more than 300 people were trapped in a mine in Nandan county because of a water leak.' This was the first time a national official newspaper published the story. The number of casualties quoted was also much higher than other estimates. Earlier reports by local newspapers estimated that 200 miners were trapped. The Shanghai Youth Daily first reported the July 16 accident on Monday, but local officials denied it. When more state media reported the accident, provincial leaders promised to look into the matter. They then claimed that no one had died. But this led to much confusion as state media had initially reported that at least 70 workers had been killed. Mr Chen yesterday insisted no dead miners had been found but admitted heavy rains had recently flooded the mine. Mr Chen also dismissed charges that local authorities were trying to cover up the incident. He said the tin mine was not off limits to the media. But the Shanghai Youth Daily said local officials had barred journalists from visiting the mine and interviewing witnesses.