Twenty-seven workers have been killed in an explosion at a coal mine in southwestern China, state media reports, in the second deadly incident to hit the country’s troubled industry in as many days.
A total of 81 miners were rescued after the blast on Saturday at the Taozigou mine in Luzhou city, Sichuan Province, with 16 taken to hospital with injuries, Xinhua reported, citing local authorities.
Several of the injured were in critical condition, suffering from extensive burns and having inhaled toxic gas.
The incident comes after a gas explosion at a colliery in the southwestern province of Guizhou on Friday killed 12 miners, according to Xinhua.
China’s mines are among the world’s deadliest because of lax regulation, corruption and poor operating procedures.
Regulation has been tightened in recent years, but accidents are common because safety is often neglected by bosses seeking easy profits.
Official figures show 1,973 people died in coal mining accidents in China in 2011, a 19 percent fall on the previous year.
Labour rights groups, however, say the actual death toll is likely to be much higher, partly due to under-reporting of accidents as owners seek to limit their economic losses and avoid punishment.
China is the world’s biggest consumer of coal, relying on the fossil fuel for 70 percent of its growing energy needs.