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Cause of Henan Coal Mine Flooding Pinpointed
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A nearby private coal mine had invaded 320 meters into the territory of the colliery operated by the state-owned Zhengzhou Coal Industrial Corp., forming a mined-out area of more than 60,000 cubic meters, according to a joint investigation by the provincial and local governments.

The fate of the 12 miners trapped underground by flooding was still unknown as rescue work entered the second day.

The mined-out area held an estimated 28,000 cubic meters of water, which suddenly poured down Sunday afternoon when miners were working in the Chaohua colliery below.

The search for the missing miners was temporarily halted Monday afternoon due to continued flooding, although the local government had mobilized all water-pumping equipment in the area to try to lower the water level inside the flooded shaft.

Rescue workers said if the missing miners ran away from the flood to higher ground, they might have survived.

Six rescue teams are rushing against time to bring fresh air into the coal shaft, pump out water and clean out the mud, a spokesman for the company said.

Annual production capacity at the colliery is 2.4 million tons.

(Xinhua News Agency April 14, 2004)

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