China

Chinese mines: At least 14 dead in latest disaster

An explosion at a coal mine in south-west China has killed at least 14 people - the latest in a string of deadly mining accidents.

The local authorities said two people were still trapped underground at the mine in Guizhou province.

At least 37 people have died in five separate mining accidents in China since October.

The accidents are often due to poorly-enforced safety regulations.

The explosion at the Guanglong mine in Guizhou province happened in the early hours of Tuesday. Seven workers were lifted to safety.

On Saturday, flooding in a coal mine in south-west China's Sichuan province killed five and trapped 13 miners underground.

Some 347 miners were working in the Shanmushu mine when the flood happened.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption A mine explosion in Pingyao, in China's northern Shanxi province killed 15 people in November

On 25 November, one person died in an accident at a different mine in Guizhou province.

Before that, a blast in northern China's Shanxi province killed 15 workers on 18 November.

At the time, officials said the accident was caused by "broken laws and regulations".

In October, two people were killed in a blast in a mine in Shandong province in eastern China.

The poor safety record and high accident rate in China's mining sector led to the government in November ordering a "crackdown" on safety issues, said the AFP news agency.

But - despite the string of deadly accidents - mine safety is generally improving.

Last year, 333 people died in Chinese mines - a decrease of 13% on the year before. Meanwhile, the "death per million tons of coal mined" fell to below 0.1 for the first time.

China mined three billion tonnes of coal over the first 10 months this year, according to official data cited by Reuters - up 4.5% from the same period in 2018.

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