Rescue teams in China have drilled new holes down into the Hushan underground gold mine in Shandong province, to prepare an escape passage for workers who are believed be alive after being trapped following an explosion on 10 January.

After the blast, a total of 22 workers were trapped underground in the gold mine located on the outskirts of Yantai.

Rescue teams have been able to provide supplies to 11 workers. One of the workers is in coma following a head injury, reported Reuters.

Citing the rescue headquarters, Shandong’s Qilu Daily newspaper reported that another eight of the 11 workers are in good health, while two are not well.

One worker, who survived the blast, is believed to be injured and found to be located in another part of the mine, while the exact location of ten are still not clear.

About 16 rescue teams and dozens of medical personnel have been deployed to save the miners.

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By GlobalData

Over 80 medical personnel have been on standby.

The rescue operation involves drilling of ten channels, with one 711 millimetre-wide hole,  which will be sufficient to serve as a passage to bring out the miners, reported the People’s Daily.

Rescue teams, however, could not confirm when this passage would be finished. An air ventilation shaft has been cleared to a depth of 350m.

The miners were working at a depth of more than 600m when the explosion occurred.