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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 November, 2004, 11:22 GMT
130-year-old Chinese fire put out
A fire that broke out more than 100 years ago at a Chinese coalfield has finally been extinguished, reports say.

In the last four years, firefighters have spent $12m in efforts to put out the flames at Liuhuanggou colliery, near Urumqi in Xinjiang province.

While ablaze, the fire burned up an estimated 1.8m tons of coal every year, according to China's official Xinhua news agency.

Local historians said the fire first broke out in 1874, Itar-Tass reported.

Hou Xuecheng, head of the Xinjiang Coalfield Firefighting Project Office, said the Liuhuanggou fire was the largest among eight major coalfield fire areas in Xinjiang.

The burning coal emitted 100,000 tons of harmful gases - including carbon monoxide and sulphur dioxide - and 40,000 tons of ashes every year, Mr Hou told Xinhua.

The continuing blaze is also thought to have caused environmental damage to the region.

Xinjiang accounts for 1.8 trillion tons, or 40.6%, of China's total coal reserves.




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