BEIJING: Nine workers have been killed in northern China during an operation to destroy expired mining explosives, officials said on Friday.
The blast in Hebei province that borders capital Beijing left another three workers injured on Wednesday, the Chicheng county government said in a notice on its microblog.
The workers had been part of a crew tasked with destroying the explosives, which can become unstable over time and unsafe to use. They had been stored by a Beijing-based coal mining company, according to media reports.
The Chicheng county government notice said an investigation had been opened into the cause of the accident, which comes amid a push to improve safety in China’s mining industry, one of the world’s deadliest due in part to the mishandling of materials. Increased supervision has reduced the number of major deadly incidents, although high demand for raw materials, especially coal, continues to lead to safety lapses.
Ten workers were killed at a gold mine in the northern province of Shandong in January after a cave-in caused by the improper storage and use of explosives.
The safety crackdown was ordered last year after two accidents in mountainous southwestern Chongqing killed 39 miners.