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Another Coal Mine Blast, Another 13 Lives Lost
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At least 13 miners are dead and another three missing after an early-morning coal mine gas explosion in Guizhou Province's Liupanshui City, in southwest China.


The blast occurred at 1:30 AM Wednesday in the No. 2 pit, when 49 miners were working underground.


Thirty-three people have so far been rescued, four of them injured. No report was available on the extent of their injuries.


Two rescue teams from the Panjiang Coal and Electricity Corporation and Panxian County have been sent to the scene. Local officials, including Vice Governor Zhang Qunshan and Guizhou Provincial Coal Mine Safety Supervision Bureau Director He Gang, are also at the site to oversee rescue and recovery operations.


The mine is owned by a township and was licensed to operate. Safety conditions were rated C on a four-level scale (A meaning good conditions and D meaning unqualified to operate), according to sources from the Coal Mine Safety Supervision Bureau.


Meanwhile, in Hebei Province, the local government announced on Tuesday that the cleanup and recovery work following the November 20 iron mine fire have "basically" been completed.


Most victims' families have received compensation, it said. The minimum amount was set at 48,000 yuan (US$5,800) to each bereft family and "will be adjusted according to actual situations." A local publicity official said that the city has raised enough funds to ensure timely payment of compensation.


The fire raced through five linked iron mines in Shahe City, trapping 106 miners and claiming 68 lives.


In Shaanxi Province, Provincial Coal Industry Bureau Director Huo Shichang said today that none of the miners trapped by Sunday's gas explosion at the Chenjiashan Coal Mine could have survived in the high concentration of gas and carbon monoxide that filled the tunnels.


There were 293 miners working underground when the explosion occurred in pits some 8,000 meters from the mine entrance. Only 127, most of whom were working near the entrance, managed to escape or were rescued.


(CRI.com, Xinhua News Agency, and China.org.cn December 1, 2004)

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