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Tuesday, 7 November, 2000, 11:16 GMT
China mine blast death toll rises
Map of China blast area
Rescuers have recovered the bodies of 13 miners after a gas explosion at a coal mine in north-east China.

Officials fear another 18 miners still trapped underground are also dead.

Mine - generic
Most mines have poor communication and safety equipment
The explosion happened at a mine in Liaoyuan in Jilin province on Sunday.

Two miners were rescued on Monday, but one doctor said there was little hope of finding anyone else alive.

"There are still 18 people in the mine," said the doctor who works at the Liaoyuan Coal Bureau hospital.

"After such a long time, they are definitely dead."

State media said an investigation into the accident was underway.

Abysmal safety

China is the world's largest consumer and producer of coal, but its miners pay a heavy price.

China factory
China relies heavily on coal to power its economic growth
Some reports say an average of 10,000 are killed in accidents every year. Thousands more are maimed or die from lung cancer.

Many mines are situated in mountain areas with poor communication facilities and lack adequate fire-fighting and ventilation equipment.

In September, a huge gas explosion at a coal mine killed 160 people in south-west Guizhou province in one of the worst accidents reported in recent years.

Last month, 25 people were killed in an explosion at a mine in north-west Gansu province.

And on Friday a fire in another mine killed 13 people and injured 27 in Jiangxi province, southern China.

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See also:

28 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
China's deadly mining industry
28 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
China's record of neglect
02 Oct 00 | Asia-Pacific
Porridge lifeline for trapped miners
19 Jun 00 | Asia-Pacific
Chinese mine scam gang face death
22 Apr 00 | Asia-Pacific
Chinese mine blast kills 40
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