An underground gas explosion at the Xingyun Colliery in China has killed at least ten mine workers.

According to reports from state-run Xinhua news agency, the explosion occurred at the mine in northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province and the bodies of the workers who had been trapped were recovered by the rescuers.

Reports said that the cause of the explosion has yet to be known and investigations are ongoing to find out the cause of explosion.

"Every year, hundreds of mine workers reportedly die in China."

China is claimed to be the world’s largest consumer of coal, and used it to supply two-thirds of its energy needs 2013.

On 27 November, at least 11 workers were killed in a coal mine explosion in south-western Guizhou Province.

Every year, hundreds of mine workers reportedly die in China.

The country is planning to close more than 2,000 small-scale coal mines by 2015, in an attempt to improve safety conditions through abolishing old operations.

According to Greenpeace energy analysts in China, the country produces and consumes an amount of coal equal to that produced by the rest of the world combined.

The level of coal burned in China during the first three quarters of this year increased by around 2%, compared with the same period of 2013.