China Coal Mine Explosion Kills 31

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The blast occurred at 2:30 am local time (1830 GMT Nov 20) in Heilongjiang province, 10 km from Hegang City. Initial reports indicated that 139 were trapped.

Heilongjiang Longmay Mining Holding Group, the owner of the mine, said that around 528 miners were working at the time when the incident happened.

Vice premier Zhang Deijang will go to the mine and direct rescue operations.

China uses coal to generate much needed electricity, sharing 80% as source. The high demand caused too much pressure for the mines to produce coal triggering them to ignore safety procedures that increases chances of explosions to occur.

The country has a high death record from mines, factories and construction sites. Last year, around 3,200 died from the mines. However, the actual number could be higher as most coal mine explosions are covered up to avoid shutdowns.