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Updated: Sun, 06 Jul 2014 08:46:33 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

Mine explosion in China leaves 17 workers trapped



FILE - In this Nov. 30, 2007 file photo, backdrop by cooling towers of a power plant and chemical factory, miners shovel coal at a mine in Xiahuayuan county, north China's Hebei province. President Barack Obama's proposal to curb U.S. greenhouse gas emissions might improve the chances of completing a global climate treaty but is unlikely to defuse demands by China, India and others for Americans to do more. China, the biggest emitter, has promised to curb its output but with its economy slowing, and communist leaders under pressure to generate jobs, has resisted binding limits. (© AP Photo/Oded Balilty, File)

FILE - In this Nov. 30, 2007 file photo, backdrop by cooling towers of a power plant and chemical factory, miners shovel coal at a mine in Xiahuayuan county, north China's Hebei province. President Barack Obama's proposal to curb U.S. greenhouse gas emissions might improve the chances of completing a global climate treaty but is unlikely to defuse demands by China, India and others for Americans to do more. China, the biggest emitter, has promised to curb its output but with its economy slowing, and communist leaders under pressure to generate jobs, has resisted binding limits. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty, File) The Associated Press

Rescuers are working to free 17 miners trapped following a gas explosion at a coal mine in western China, the country's official news agency reports.

The blast at the mine 120 kilometres from Urumqi, the capital of the sprawling Xinjiang region, happened on Saturday evening, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

It said three other people working inside the mine at the time had been rescued.

China has the world's deadliest mines, although the safety record has been improving in recent years as regulators have strengthened enforcement of safety rules.

Xinhua said the pit is mined by Dahuangshan Yuxin Coal Mining Co. Ltd., owned by the sixth agricultural division of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps. It is a paramilitary organization that was revived by the central government in the 1980s to aid the region's construction and development.

Calls to the organization rang unanswered on Sunday. A duty officer at Xinjiang work safety bureau said he had no information about the incident. 

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