(AP) — An open pit mine collapsed in China’s northern Inner Mongolia region on Wednesday, killing at least two people and leaving more than 50 missing, state media reported.
The official Xinhua News Agency said people were buried under debris at the mine in Alxa League. Rescuers brought out three people, two of whom showed no signs of life.
Other state media reports gave the total number of missing at 57 and said numerous vehicles were also buried in the collapse.
Inner Mongolia is a key region for mining coal and other minerals in China, which critics say has ravaged the original landscape of mountains, grassy steppe and deserts.
China overwhelmingly relies on coal for power generation, but has strived to reduce the number of deadly mine accidents through a greater emphasis on safety and the closure of smaller operations that lacked necessary equipment.
Most mining deaths are attributed to explosions caused by the buildup of methane and coal dust, or to drownings caused when miners break into shafts that had been abandoned due to flooding.
China has recorded a slew of deadly industrial and construction accidents in recent months as a result of poor safety training and regulation, official corruption and a tendency to cut corners by companies seeking to eek out profits. The economy has slowed, partly as a result of draconian lockdowns and quarantines imposed under the now-abandoned “zero-COVID” policy.