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25 dead in China coal mine fire

by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) March 16, 2010
Twenty-five people have been killed in a coal mine fire in central China, local authorities said Tuesday, the latest deadly incident in the country's hazardous mining industry.

The city government said the blaze in a mine in Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan province, was sparked when cables caught fire late Monday in one of the main pits.

Six miners were saved, but the rest died.

Police have detained at least three mine managers and frozen their assets and those of the facility after an initial investigation revealed the mine was operating illegally, the government said.

China's coal mines are among the most dangerous in the world, with safety standards often ignored in the quest for profits and the drive to meet surging demand for coal -- the source of about 70 percent of China's energy.

Earlier this month, more than 30 miners were killed in a flood at a coal mine in the Inner Mongolia region in northern China.

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