More than 150 people are trapped underground in a flooded coal mine in north China’s Shanxi province.

A total of 261 workers were working in the pit of the Wangjialing coal mine, which was under construction when underground water gushed in on Sunday afternoon.

At the time of writing, 108 men had been lifted to safety, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

With the help of eight pumps and army rescuers about 2,000³ of water can be pumped out of the mine each hour during daylight hours.

The mine, affiliated with the state-owned Huajin Coking Coal, is estimated to have more than 2.3 billion tons of coal reserves, including 1.04 billion tons of proven reserves.

It is a key project approved by the provincial government and is expected to produce six million tons of coal a year once in operation.

Earlier this month 32 workers were killed in a similar accident when underground water flooded a mine being constructed in north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous region.

China has the world’s deadliest coal-mining industry, with more than 3,000 people killed in mine floods, explosions, collapses and other accidents in 2008 alone.