Gas leak, fire kill 56 at two coal mines in China(Lead)

September 21st, 2008 - 7:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Sep 21 (DPA) A sudden burst of gas and coal killed 37 at a mine in the central Chinese province of Henan Sunday, one day after a fire killed at least 19 and left 12 missing at another coal mine, the government said.The accident occurred at the privately operated Xinfeng No.2 coal mine in Henan’s Dengfeng city at about 1.30 a.m., the State Administration of Work Safety reported.

Rescue workers had confirmed the death of 31 miners by mid-morning and were searching for 13 still missing underground, the administration said.

The mine was licensed to produce up to 150,000 tonnes of coal annually for the Guangxian Industrial and Trade Company and was undergoing a technological upgrade, it said.

The Hegang city government has ordered all coal mines undergoing upgrades to suspend production pending safety overhauls, it said.

Meanwhile, rescuers Sunday had confirmed the death of another 19 miners after a fire early Saturday at a coal mine in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang, the safety administration said.

Accidents kill an estimated 10,000 people annually in Chinese mines. The accidents are often triggered by outdated equipment and poor safety measures with many occurring at illegal mines.

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