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Nine die in coal mine blast in China

world Updated: Dec 03, 2007 09:22 IST

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Nine persons were killed and six others injured in a coal mine gas explosion in southwest China's Yunnan province, local government said.

Eight men died at the spot and another in hospital in yesterday's blast at a private coal mine in Zhaotong City. Two injured persons were still in a critical condition, Xinhua news agency said.

The head of the coal mine and officials in charge of production safety have been held by local authorities, the report said.

Accidents in coal mines are a common occurrence in China, which reported 3,069 deaths in 1,920 cases from January to October this year.

Authorities however said the number of deaths was less by 20.2 per cent and the cases by 19 per cent from the same period last year.

China has banned new small coal mines with an annual capacity below 300,000 tons in a move to improve the safety record of its mining industry which is notorious for high rates of deaths in accidents.

China's small coal mines account for one third of the country's total production but two thirds of deaths in colliery accidents.