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Mine explosion kills 20 in China

MOSCOW, January 21 (RIA Novosti) - A total of 20 people were killed in an explosion at an illegal mine in the northern Shanxi province, the state-run Xinhua news agency said on Monday citing the local employment safety administration.

The mine, which opened in 2004, was closed for failing to meet safety standards. On Sunday, a group of workers tried to restart coal production in the mine, and two hours later the blast followed.

The rescue operation has been completed at the mine, where the accident occurred late on Sunday in the city of Linfen. Police are searching for those behind the illegal mining operation.

China's coal mining industry is considered the world's most dangerous with over 3,000 people killed each year in fires, floods, explosions and rockfalls. The deadliest accidents usually occur in small privately-owned mines in autumn and winter as owners increase coal production during the winter season.

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