At least 17 workers have been killed over the weekend at two separate mining accidents in China.

A gas leak on 7 August at a mine run by Hongda Red Star Mining in the south-western province of Sichuan killed at least one worker.

Hours later in a separate accident, a fire killed 16 at the Lingnan gold mine in Zhaoyuan City in the eastern province of Shandong.

Most of the casualties suffocated after inhaling toxic smoke, reports Associated Press.

About 329 people were working in the mine when the fire started.

China has the world’s deadliest mining industry, with 1,261 coal mine deaths in the first half of 2010.