An explosion in an underground coal mine in Fuyuan County, Qujing, in the Yunnan province of south-west China has killed 13 people.

The incident occurred inside a shaft of the Hongtutian coal mine in the early hours of 21 April. A total of 56 people were working in the mine at the time of the accident; 42 escaped without injuries and one person is reported as missing, according to the China State Administration of Work Safety.

The privately-owned Hongtutian is properly licensed for operation, reports Xinhua, citing the Fuyuan county Government.

"This accident closely follows the floods earlier this month at the Xiahaizi coal mine in the Qilin district." 

The cause of the explosion is as yet unknown and local authorities are carrying out an investigation.

This accident closely follows the floods earlier this month at the Xiahaizi coal mine in the Qilin district, which left 21 people dead.

Coal mine accidents killed 839 people in China over the first nine months of 2013, reported Bloomberg.

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By GlobalData

In recent years, safety conditions at Chinese coal mines have improved and the deaths have been declining, with 1,384 reported in 2012, 1,973 in 2011 and 2,433 in 2010, according to the Work Safety Administration.

China aims to close around 1,000 small mines to improve safety and efficiency in its mining industry.

Energy