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Owner of disaster-struck coal mine disappears
Updated: 2005-12-05 09:44

The owner of a Chinese mine where flooding has trapped 42 miners underground has disappeared, state media reported on Monday.

Jin Changsong, owner of the Sigou Coal Mine in the central province of Henan, went missing after Friday's accident along with several of his managers, Xinhua news agency reported. The mine had been operating without a safety licence.

The local public security bureau issued a circular for Jin's arrest, Xinhua said, while rescuers scrambled to pump thousands of cubic metres of water out of the mine.

Authorities have launched a series of campaigns to clean up an industry that killed some 2,700 in the first half of this year alone and more than 6,000 last year.

But with profits from the fuel that feeds about 70 percent of China's economy keeping the coal industry booming, analysts say there is little incentive for mine owners to implement safety regulations.

An explosion at a coal mine in northeastern China last week killed at least 169.

"The management of the colliery was extremely confused. Attendance registration, lamp issuance and security checks on miners were in a complete mess," said Zhao Tiechu, head of the State Administration of Coal Mine Safety Supervision.

Authorities have shut down the state-owned mine and detained several top officials.

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