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Fourteen die in latest Chinese mine accidents

Written by: Staff
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BEIJING, Sep 3 (Reuters) Fourteen coal miners died at the weekend in two separate accidents, while the death toll at a third pit climbed to nine, underscoring China's reputation as the world's deadliest mining industry.

A gas explosion in a pit in the southwestern province of Guizhou killed eight workers, and injured four, Xinhua news agency reported today.

The agency quoted local authorities as saying that the blast yesterday occurred at an illegally run colliery.

Six miners died when their pit in central Hubei province flooded.

Four escaped, Xinhua said.

In neighbouring Hunan Province, rescue workers recovered four more bodies from a mine where a gas explosion occurred on Thursday, bringing the death toll to nine.

Xinhua said initial investigations showed the blast was triggered by the miners' electric tools. It said the mine owner had failed to measure the gas density in the pit and had since run away.

Last year, 3,300 gas blasts, floods and other accidents killed nearly 6,000 miners across China, according to official figures.

Collieries are struggling to meet booming demand for coal, which fuels about 70 per cent of the nation's energy consumption.

In the rush for profits, safety regulations are often ignored, production is pushed beyond limits and dangerous mines that have been shut down are reopened illegally.

REUTERS AB KP2134

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