June 16, 2009 / 7:27 AM / 10 years ago

Indonesia coal mine explosion traps 30: official

JAKARTA (Reuters) - An explosion at a coal mine in Indonesia’s Sumatra island has killed one person and rescuers were trying to reach at least 30 miners feared trapped underground, an official said Tuesday.

An industry source said the coal mine was locally owned and produced only about 1,500 tonnes of coal a month. The source, who asked not to be identified, said the coal was supplied to local paper and power companies.

An initial report said there had been a landslide near a mine operated by state coal miner PT Bukit Asam, but officials later denied this.

“The mine is not owned by PT Bukit Asam but it is located nearby our mine in Sawahlunto,” said Bukit Asam production director Milawarma. The official, who uses one name like many Indonesians, said output at its operations was not affected.

Rustam Pakaya, the head of the health ministry’s disaster center, said that one person had died and nine were admitted to hospital after the explosion. He also said by telephone text message that 30 people were missing and feared trapped.

Indonesia has rich mineral resources with many coal and other mines, but often tends to use open-pit mining rather than underground mining.

Indonesia, the world’s largest thermal coal exporter, is expected to produce around 230 million tonnes of coal this year, according to a government estimate.

Reporting by Telly Nathalia, Olivia Rondonuwu and Fitri Wulandari; Writing by Ed Davies; Editing by Jeremy Laurence

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