14 Dec 2013

China mine explosion kills 21

5:13 pm on 14 December 2013

An explosion has killed 21 workers at a coal mine in China's western Xinjiang province according to reports.

The Xinhua news agency says the blast occurred at the Baiyanggou coal mine.

Thirty four miners were working underground at the time of the explosion.

Twelve workers managed to escape but 22 were trapped by the blast.

AAP reports that just one of the trapped miners survived the explosion.

Mining accidents are common in China, which is the world's largest consumer of coal and where mine operators often skirt safety regulations.

In 2012, 1384 people were killed in coal mining accidents in the country, according to official figures, down from 1973 in 2011.

But some rights groups argue that the actual figure is significantly higher due to under-reporting by mining companies.