China coal mines suspended following fatal blast

Beijing: All small-scale coal mines were suspended in China’s Hunan province following a fatal blast that killed nine people, authorities said on Thursday.

Starting Wednesday, coal mines with annual capacity of less than 300,000 tonnes suspended operation for two weeks for safety inspections, according to a senior provincial official.

The blast occurred on Tuesday at the Zubao coalmine in Lianyuan city, Xinhua news agency reported.

A total of 29 people were working underground, 16 of whom managed to escape from the shaft. A further four were rescued, with three of them injured.