Twelve workers were killed and four injured in a mine explosion in Russia's northern Murmansk region, Interfax news agency reported today, citing emergency officials.
The blast took place yesterday when explosives accidentally detonated during excavation work at an apatite mine near Kirovsk, some 1,500 kilometres north of Moscow, the news agency said.
Apatite is a mineral often used in the making of fertilisers.
"A large-scale blast was being prepared at the mine for which 55 tonnes of explosives had been laid. According to confirmed figures, 12 died and four were injured," a source at the emergency situations ministry told Interfax.
Mine safety has been gravely underfunded in Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the industry experiences numerous accidents each year.