An explosion in a coal mine in China's Jilin province in the north-eastern part of the country has killed 18 people, injuring 12 others.
It is thought that 73 people were working at the site when the gas blast happened in the afternoon of 20th April 2013 at the Qingxing coal mine in Helong City. Xinhua, a state-owned news agency, reported that 55 people were lifted to safety.
The Jilin provincial information office said in a statement that all the injured are currently being treated and do not have any life-threatening injuries.
According to the statement, the management of the coal mine has been detained by police, and the mine's operating permit has been canceled.
An initial investigation launched by the provincial government identified that the coal mine had failed to eradicate potential hazards, which were identified in the past, and authorities believe that the management's failure to fix these safety hazards led to the accident.
In addition, the mine operators did not comply with the government's order to halt work in order to facilitate safety inspections.
This explosion in Qingxing mine is the latest disaster in the mining sector.
The province of Jilin has been conducting inspections after two recent accidents were reported in a coal mine - on 29 March and 1 April, two explosions at the Babao coal mine in Jiangyuan district in the city of Baishan killed a total of 53 people.
In the statement, the province said it will send supervision teams to all 210 coal mines in Jilin to ensure that the production has been halted for safety inspections.
China has one of the world's worst safety records in the mining industry - the country's State Administration of Work Safety reports show 1,973 and 2,433 people were killed in the country in mining incidents in 2011 and 2010 respectively.
Image: The explosion in Qingxing mine is the latest in a series of disasters in the country's mining sector. Photo: Herry Lawford.