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Last Updated: Monday, 21 January 2008, 08:25 GMT
China mine explosion 'kills 20'
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A gas explosion in an illegal mine in northern China has killed at least 20 people, according to state media.

Xinhua news agency said miners were attempting to reopen a shaft in Shanxi province that the government had used explosives to close in 2004.

China's coal mines are the world's most dangerous, with more than 3,000 deaths reported every year.

Many accidents occur in small, illegal mines where safety procedures are often ignored.

The government has introduced legislation aimed at cracking down on illegal or unsafe mines.

But mine owners and local officials are frequently accused of ignoring regulations in search of greater profits.

SEE ALSO
China jails five over mine blast
22 Dec 07 |  Asia-Pacific
105 die in China mine explosion
07 Dec 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Flooding traps 69 Chinese miners
30 Jul 07 |  Asia-Pacific

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