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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 October 2007, 12:19 GMT 13:19 UK
Trapped Australian miners freed
Map of Australia
A group of 54 miners trapped underground for several hours after a fire at an Australian gold mine have been rescued unharmed.

The last 16 miners were brought out by 1720 local time (0920 GMT), a spokeswoman for the mine-owners said.

Workers took refuge in shelters after smoke filled parts of Kanowna Belle mine, 20km (12 miles) north-east of Kalgoorlie, Western Australia.

The fire began eight hours earlier on a truck working underground.

It was put out by an on-board extinguisher.

No-one was injured because the mine's safety system was activated as soon as the fire broke out, Barrick Gold Corporation spokeswoman Celina Watt said.

"Everyone has been brought to the surface, so everyone is out safely and accounted for," she added.

"They're hoping to get the truck out tonight and they're looking to have the operations up and running by the morning."

Barrick Gold Corporation, a Canadian company, is the world's largest gold producer.

The Kanowna Belle mine is thought to contain 400 metric tons (more than 14 million ounces) of gold.



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