China has the deadliest mining industry in the world with more than 2,600 deaths in 2009 alone [EPA]

Rescuers in China have successfully freed at least seven of 29 workers trapped for nearly a day in a flooded coal mine in the country's southwestern Sichuan province.

State broadcaster China Central Television showed live images of miners being taken from the mine on stretchers to ambulances on Monday, a day after the small Batian mine suddenly flooded.

The miners still underground have been confirmed alive and are in stable condition, CCTV reported.

The men had been doing safety work at the mine when an estimated 4,000 cubic metres of water flooded rushed into the coal mine pit near Neijiang city on Sunday.

An official surnamed Xie with the provincial work safety bureau said 41 workers were underground at the small, privately-owned Batian mine when it flooded.

Officials said 13 of the workers had managed to escape.

Mining disasters

The official Xinhua news agency said Batian had stopped production and was being upgraded to increase its annual capacity from 50,000 tonnes to 60,000 tonnes.

The latest mining disaster comes only days after a similar flooding trapped three workers in an iron mine in southern China on Saturday.

Though most of China's mining accidents occur in small, illegal mines, Xinhua quoted Lin Shucheng, chief of the provincial work safety bureau, as saying that Batian's operation was legal and fully licenced.

China depends on coal for 70 per cent of its energy production and its mines are the deadliest in the world, with more than 2,600 people killed in coal mine accidents in 2009 alone.

Source: Agencies