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Colliery Blast Kills 7, Injures 3 in Shaanxi
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A gas explosion in a coal mine in northwest China's Shaanxi Province has killed seven miners and injured three others, the local mine safety regulator said yesterday.


The blast took place at Majiahe Coal Mine in Weinan City at 7:30 PM on Monday as 22 miners were working underground, said Gao Xinghong, director of Weinan’s Colliery Safety Supervision Bureau.


Twelve miners managed to get out of the mine and the three injured are out of danger, the local government said yesterday.


The privately-owned colliery, with an annual production capacity of 60,000 tons, had had an overdue production license, said Gao.


"The license had expired by this October, which means its production over the past one and half months has been illegal," said Gao, adding the mine owner has been detained by police.


All collieries in Chengchen County, where the mine is located, have been ordered to halt operations pending safety inspections, said Gao.


Yesterday, a State Council team was set up in Xin'an, Henan Province to investigate the coal mine flooding accident that has claimed at least 35 lives there.


The flooding at the unlicensed, privately-run Sigou Coal Mine occurred at 11:40 PM on December 2. Seventy-six miners were working underground at the time, and only 34 escaped. Rescuers have still to locate seven trapped miners.


An initial investigation suggested that though the mine was unlicensed local supervision officials had turned a blind eye toward it.


(Xinhua News Agency December 21, 2005)

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