China's mining industry is plagued by accidents in spite of moves by Beijing to improve safety measures.
At least 3,786 coal miners were killed in industrial accidents in 2007, according to official figures.
The official death toll for 2008 stood at 3,215, a 15 per cent drop on the previous year, after thousands of mines deemed unsafe by the authorities were closed.
But China still has dozens of illegal mines, and many legal mines routinely cover up fatalities to avoid having their work suspended by authorities.
Up to 200 deaths went unreported by mine owners in 2006, the State Administration of Work Safety has said.