Rescuers reach 22 trapped Chinese miners

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Rescuers have reached the main shaft where 22 people are believed to be trapped after a fire at a mine in north-eastern China, state media reported on Thursday.

Flames in the shaft have been extinguished and ventilation restored at the unlicensed mine in the city of Qitaihe, located on the border with Siberia.

The blaze broke out on Tuesday.

No fewer than two people, including the mine boss and the manager, are being questioned by police after the accident.

According to the State Administration of Work Safety, deaths reported from mining accidents in China have plunged since the start of the millennium: 1,049 miners died at work in 2013 whereas 598 died in 2015.

However, there are doubts about the accuracy of official figures, as well as the role played by reduced coal production.

China is the world’s biggest consumer and producer of coal.

According to the China National Coal Association, coal production was 3.68 billion tonnes in 2015, or 47 per cent of the world’s total.



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