In March, a flood at the vast, unfinished Wangjialing mine in the northern province of Shanxi left 153 workers trapped underground, but in a rare succesful rescue 115 were recoveredalive.

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The head of China's work safety watchdog said last month that the flood "could completely have been avoided". The agency said managers had ignored water leaks noted by workers in the days leading up to the disaster.

Although safety conditions have improved in the last several years, China's mining industry is by far the world's deadliest, with accidents and blasts killing more than 2,600 coal miners last year.

On Friday, a Chinese court sentenced two policemen to up to five years in jail for taking bribes from the owner of an iron mine, where an accident killed 277 people two years ago.

A landslide of sludge triggered by the collapse of a mine dam buried a village in Xiangfen county, Shanxi province, on September 8, 2008.

The Fangshan District People's Court in Beijing sentenced Han Chunxi, 39, the former county police chief, to five years in prison for taking $5,859 in bribes from the mine owner.

The court found that he had ordered his subordinates to stop inspections of the mine and abetted the use of mining explosives.

A subordinate, Cheng Xiangmin, 37, was sentenced to three years in jail for dereliction of duty, Xinhua said.