Six killed in fire at gold mine in eastern China

(Reuters) - Six people were killed in a fire at a gold mine in eastern China’s Shandong province, state media reported on Wednesday, with the local government announcing a new campaign to shut down unsafe facilities following recent accidents.

The fire occurred at around 6 a.m. local time (2200 GMT on Tuesday) during maintenance at the Caojiawa gold mine in the city of Zhaoyuan, the official Xinhua news agency reported, citing local authorities.

Ten miners were trapped by the fire, Xinhua said, with four who were rescued sent to hospital for medical treatment.

The fire was the second major incident at a Shandong gold mine in little over a month.

In January, 11 workers trapped by an explosion at the Hushan mine were dramatically pulled out alive after spending two weeks underground.

At least 10 miners were killed, however, prompting authorities to launch more safety inspections.

The Shandong province emergency bureau said it would begin a “comprehensive and thorough” inspection programme lasting until the end of March to tackle safety risks at all its non-coal mines. Those that fail the inspection will be closed.

China’s mines are among the world’s deadliest. The country recorded 573 mine-related deaths in 2020, according to the National Mine Safety Administration.

Reporting by Chen Aizhu; additional reporting by Tom Daly and David Stanway; Editing by Christian Schmollinger, Kim Coghill and Lincoln Feast.