23 dead in mine explosions

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Two neighbouring coal mines collapsed after gas explosions in Pakistan's southwestern Balochistan province, killing 23 people, officials said yesterday.

"We have also rescued six workers who are trapped in the rubble and have sent them to hospital for treatment but one miner is still trapped under the rubble" he said.

The blasts, triggered by a buildup of methane gas, caused a tunnel collapse at the first mine in the Marwar coalfields just before midday on Saturday. At least 15 more miners were injured in the two incidents.

Most of the miners came from the same village in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Shangla district, officials told Pakistan's Dawn newspaper. Ahmed says rescue operations have been completed at both sites.

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Chief of Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) Muhammad Tariq also confirmed that 16 miners had been killed. Two workers were rescued in an unconscious state, while bodies of two miners were recovered Saturday night.

Meanwhile, activists of the Pakistan Central Mines Labour Federation (PMCLF) staged a demonstration outside Quetta Press Club on Sunday to protest against the killing of 23 miners in the two mine incidents.

He said the seven miners were working 3,400 feet deep inside the mine when the landslide occurred inside it, burying the seven, adding that the landslide might have been caused by some activity taking place under the mine.

Pakistan's Mineral Development Corporation leases many of them to private contractors.