Twenty coal-miners were killed and seven stranded underground, after a steel cable, designed to lift workers and coal out of the mine, broke and sent two carriages crashing into each other.
The state-run China News Service said 34 miners were riding in the carriages when the cable broke, overturning the carriages in the mine in Baiyin city in Gansu province. It said 14 miners were rescued.
According to the Tianjin Propaganda Department, seven miners were initially trapped underground but were rescued by emergency services. This latest accident, from an industry which killed 1,973 miners last year, is estimated to cost the owners of the mine over 6.1 million RMB in damages payouts.
The accident comes at an awkward time for the coal industry, as China’s work safety watchdog on Monday unveiled new penalties for mines deemed to be unsafe.
The State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS) decided to shut down eight coal mines around the country, including a mine in the city of Liaoyang, Liaoning Province, where a gas blast in March left 22 people dead, according to a statement on its website.
88 more mines will also have to pay penalties of over 500,000 RMB for failing to live up to minimum safety standards.