A coal mine accident killed 17 miners and injured one in a mining and metals-intensive region in southern China's Hunan province, the official Xinhua news agency reported, citing the provincial work safety watchdog.
The miners died after mining explosives stored in the shaft blew up and released clouds of toxic gas at a township coal mine near Chenzhou on Saturday, the report said.
Last August, the provincial government suspended all of Chenzhou's 270 coal mines for the rest of 2009, after an accident at a graphite mine killed 15 people.
China's mines are the deadliest in the world, due to lax safety standards and a rush to feed demand from a robust economy. More than 2,600 people died in coal mine accidents in 2009 alone.