According to state media, investigators probing last Saturday's explosion in a mine outside the city of Hegang have blamed crowded conditions, insufficient ventilation and slow rescue efforts for the high death toll.

The explosion was the deadliest accident at a Chinese mine in more than two years.

Despite repeated efforts to improve safety standards and close the most dangerous mines, China's coal industry remains the world's deadliest.

According to the government mining accidents claimed 1,175 lives in the first six months of this year, an 18.4 per cent drop over the same period last year.