Hindustan Times (Noida) - - HTWORLD -

At least 21 coal min­ers were killed when a mine col­lapsed in north­ern China, state me­dia re­ported on Sun­day.

The disas­ter oc­curred on Satur­day in Shenmu in Shaanxi prov­ince in the heart of the coun­try’s coal-min­ing belt, ac­cord­ing to state TV and the Xin­hua news agency. Sixty-six other min­ers were res­cued, the city gov­ern­ment said in a state­ment.

A to­tal of 87 peo­ple were work­ing un­der­ground in the Shaanxi prov­ince mine at the time of the ac­ci­dent, Xin­huare­port­ed­c­it­ing lo­cal au­thor­i­ties. Res­cuers had been search­ing for two re­main­ing trapped min­ers but found them dead on Sun­day, the re­port said. An­other 66 min­ers were safely evac­u­ated from the mine.

The cause of the ac­ci­dent at the site, run by pri­vately owned Baiji Min­ing, is still un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion. Pri­vate coal mines in China typ­i­cally take fewer safety pre­cau­tions than larger sta­te­owned mines.

Deadly min­ing ac­ci­dents are com­mon in China, where the in­dus­try has a poor safety record de­spite ef­forts to im­prove coal pro­duc­tion con­di­tions and crack down on il­le­gal mines. In De­cem­ber last year, seven min­ers were killed and three oth­ers in­jured in an ac­ci­dent at a coal mine in China’s south­west.

In Oc­to­ber, 21 min­ers died in east­ern Shan­dong prov­ince af­ter pres­sure in­side a mine caused rocks to frac­ture and break, block­ing the tun­nel and trap­ping work­ers. Only one miner was res­cued alive. Ac­cord­ing to China’s Na­tional Coal Mine Safety Ad­min­is­tra­tion, the coun­try saw 375 coal min­ing re­lated deaths in 2017, down 28.7% yearon-year.

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