China coal mine blast traps 50: state media

A gas explosion at a coal mine in southwest China has trapped 50 miners underground, state media said Wednesday, in the latest mining disaster to hit the country.

The blast occurred late Wednesday afternoon in Panzhihua city in Sichuan province, the official Xinhua news agency said.

Rescue efforts were now underway, it added.

China's mines are known for being among the world's most deadly due to lax regulation, corruption and inefficiency, and accidents are common as safety is often neglected by bosses seeking quick profits.

Rapid economic growth has caused China's demand for energy, including coal, to surge. The world's second-biggest economy is the top global consumer of coal.

In April, nine miners were killed and 16 injured in a blast at a colliery in northern China's Inner Mongolia region.

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