by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Nov 26, 2012
The death toll from a blast at a mine in southwest China rose to 23 Monday after searchers found the body of the last missing miner, state press said.
Rescue workers recovered the body two days after a gas explosion ripped through the Xiangshui coal mine in Liupanshui, in Guizhou Province, Xinhua news agency said.
A preliminary investigation blamed inadequate safety measures for the accident, the report said.
After the blast on Saturday 18 miners were reported dead and on Sunday China's work safety administration said the toll had increased to 22.
Five other miners were injured.
China is the world's biggest consumer of coal, relying on the fossil fuel for about 70 percent of its growing energy needs.
But its mines are among the deadliest in the world because of lax regulation, corruption and inefficiency. Accidents are common because safety is often neglected by bosses seeking quick profits.
According to the latest official figures, 1,973 people died in coal mining accidents in China in 2011, a 19 percent fall on the previous year.
But labour rights groups say the actual death toll is likely to be much higher, partly due to under-reporting of accidents as mine bosses seek to limit their financial losses and avoid punishment.
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