Seventy-four miners died in an explosion at a mine in Shanxi province on Sunday, Reuters reported. At least 60 miners were trapped underground in the accident and some managed to contact their families on their mobile phones while they waited for rescuers to arrive. State media reported that 114 miners were in hospital and five were in a critical condition. The mine in Tunlan, near the provincial capital of Taiyuan, belongs to China’s biggest coking coal producer, Shanxi Coking Coal Group. It is the parent of Shenzhen-listed Shanxi Xishan Coal and Electricity Power and Shanghai-listed Shanxi Coking. The mine is capable of producing 5 million metric tons of coal a year, most of which goes to the steel industry. A total of 3,786 coal miners died in accidents in 2007. The number of deaths fell to 2,690 in the first 10 months of 2008 after many small, unsafe mines were closed.
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