CHINA> Regional
Smoking blamed for fatal mine explosion in S. China
Updated: 2008-11-04 23:45

NANNING  -- A fatal gas explosion last month at a south China coal mine was caused by smoking.

Nine people were killed at the accident mine of the Heshan Coal Mine Co. Ltd, in Heshan of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, on October 10.

Gas inside the mine exploded when a miner used a cigarette lighter, which was banned, the regional coal mine safety administration said on Tuesday. Nine other miners were injured.

Fourteen government officials including the vice mayor of Heshan have been suspended in the wake of the explosion. The mine's legal representative and manager were under surveillance, the administration said.

The company is the largest of its kind in Guangxi with an annual production capacity of around 8 million tons.