50 Chinese miners reported killed in three accidents

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The Independent Online

Accidents blamed on natural gas leaks have killed at least 50 miners in three separate Chinese mines, state media and a local official said Tuesday.

Accidents blamed on natural gas leaks have killed at least 50 miners in three separate Chinese mines, state media and a local official said today.

Twenty­five miners were killed Monday in an explosion in an unlicensed, private coal mine in Wenshan county in the southwestern province of Yunnan, the Xinhua News Agency said.

Thousands of Chinese coal miners are killed every year in accidents, often in small, unlicensed mines that lack fire and ventilation equipment.

An official of the Wenshan government confirmed there was a fatal accident but said no one who had details was available to comment. The official would give only his surname, Feng.

Ten other miners were injured, Xinhua said. It said the acting governor of Yunnan, Xu Rongkai, was en route to the scene.

In central China, 18 miners suffocated on Monday night when natural gas flooded their mine in Loudi, a city in Hunan province.

The city­owned mine was properly licensed and had a good safety record, said an official of the city mine bureau who gave only his surname, Fu.

The area is about 900 miles south of Beijing.

The miners were killed when they broke open a vein of gas that left them without air to breathe, the mine official said. He said there were 30 men in the mine at the time, and 12 escaped.

On Sunday, an explosion killed seven miners in the city of Pingxian in the southeastern province of Jiangxi, the newspaper Legal Daily reported. It said one miner was missing.

Local officials, contacted by telephone, said they couldn't confirm the report.

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