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China hit by two mining accidents
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) July 2, 2011

China suffered two mining accidents on Saturday that left three workers dead and 40 trapped underground, state media said, the latest incidents to hit the nation's dangerous collieries.

One mine collapsed in Heshan city in the southern region of Guangxi, and rescuers sent to help the trapped workers found three bodies at the site of the accident, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

Another 19 miners were still trapped in a difficult-to-reach section of a mine shaft more than 300 metres (990 feet) below ground, the report said.

In another accident on Saturday morning, a mine in the neighbouring province of Guizhou flooded when 29 workers were underground, a separate Xinhua report said.

Eight of the workers had made it out safely, but the remaining miners were still trapped in the mine in Pingtang county, it added.

China's coal mines have a notoriously poor safety record, which the government has repeatedly pledged to address.

In its latest campaign, the government issued a policy last year that required six kinds of safety systems, including rescue facilities, to be installed in all coal mines within three years.

In 2010, 2,433 people died in coal mine accidents in China, according to official statistics, or a rate of more than six workers per day.

Labour rights groups, however, say the actual death toll is likely much higher than official data indicates, partly due to under-reporting of accidents as mine bosses seek to limit their economic losses and avoid punishment.

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