02/17/2005, 00.00
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In two days 220 men die in mining accidents

An illegal mine explodes in Yunnan province, whilst three months after the Shaanxi mining disaster, investigation is hindered by smouldering pit fire.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – As China keeps on burying its miners, an official with the Bureau of Coal Mine Safety in Liaoning said hopes are slim to find the five miners who are still missing from last Monday's blast in the Sunjiawan colliery in the city of Fuxin. The official death toll now stands at 215. The latest incident was the worst mining accident in the country since 1949.

This brings total fatalities in three days of coal mine explosions to 220 dead and 17 missing.

State-owned media reported in fact that another explosion occurred on February 15 in an illegal mine in Qujing, Yunnan province killing five and leaving 17 more missing.

Officials from Yunnan's Bureau of Coal Mine Safety announced that all mines would be inspected before production would be allowed to resume.

"The mine is definitely an illegal one," bureau director Xu Jianan said. "We don't know how long it has been in operation. If we had known about it, it would definitely have been closed down."

In the meantime, investigations into last year's deadliest coal mine explosion, which claimed 166 lives in Shaanxi province, are going nowhere because coal is still burning in the pit almost three months after the blast.

"The coal mine is still burning. The fire isn't extinguished yet. There's no way to go down and find out what happened," a State Administration of Coal Mine Safety spokesman said yesterday.

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See also
Guangdong Governor admits responsibility for death of 123 miners
Shanxi: Thirty-three dead in mine blast
Mine explosion in northern China kills 16
The inexorable slaughter of Chinese miners: An overview
Taoshi disaster: in China, thousands of "illegal and dangerous" mining waste reservoirs


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