29 Mar 2010 10:18

Flood traps 153 workers at Shanxi coalmine

Shanghai. March 29. INTERFAX-CHINA - A flood at an unfinished Shanxi Province coalmine has left 153 construction workers trapped underground, state media reported on March 29.

There were 261 workers on site when the Wangjialing Coalmine flooded at 1:40 p.m. (Beijing Time) on March 28, but 108 workers managed to escape, according to Xinhua news agency. The workers are mostly migrants from Shanxi, Hebei, Hunan and Guizhou provinces who were working on a temporary basis.

The coalmine, which is owned by Huajin Coking Coal Co. Ltd., was under construction at the time of the flood and was scheduled to start operations in October.

At a press conference on the morning of March 29, authorities said that more than 200 rescuers are working to pump water from the mine, according to the report. Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang and Shanxi Governor Wang Jun both traveled to the site to direct rescue efforts.

The Wangjialing Coalmine is located in Hejin City. The mine is designed to produce up to 6 million tons of coal a year. It has about 1.03 billion tons of exploitable coal resources.