Li Xueju, China's civil affairs minister, said that a recent major mining accident involving a flooded coal mine was a "natural disaster," AP reported. "The disaster was caused by heavy rain, not problems within the mine, so it was decided that this was a natural disaster," said Li. Some 181 miners were trapped in two flooded mines in Shandong province on August 18. Rescue efforts have proven futile – officials have said that it will take 100 days to drain the floodwaters – and the miners have been presumed dead. Most of the workers were trapped in a mine owned by Huayuan Mining Co. The mine's bosses have been accused of ignoring warning signs that could have averted the accident. Mining accidents in China kill an average of 13 miners a day, according to official figures.
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