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Factbox: World and New Zealand mining disasters

Twenty-nine miners remain trapped in a remote New Zealand coal mine, a day after an explosion ripped through the colliery.
/ Source: Reuters

Twenty-nine miners remain trapped in a remote New Zealand coal mine, a day after an explosion ripped through the colliery.

Mining disasters account for an estimated 12,000 deaths each year, in one of the world's most dangerous jobs.

Following is a list of world mining disasters, including several in New Zealand where hundreds have died in mine accidents over the past 150 years. WORST MINING DISASTERS - China holds the record for the largest number of people killed in a single mining disaster. On April 26, 1942, 1,572 miners were killed in an explosion at Honkeiko coal mine.

- The Courrieres mine disaster in northern France in 1906 was the worst ever pit disaster in Europe, resulting in the death of 1,099 miners.

- The worst mining accident in American history was caused by an underground explosion in 1907 in Monongah, West Virginia that resulted in the death of 362 miners.

- There have been three separate mining disasters in the Canadian town of Springhill in Nova Scotia. A fire in 1891 killed 125 miners, 39 people died in an explosion in 1956, and an underground earthquake in 1958 killed 74.

- A gas explosion at the Mount Kembla coal mine in New South Wales killed 96 people in 1902, making it the worst industrial accident in Australia's history. WORST MINING DISASTERS OF 2010 - January: at least 25 miners died in a fire at a colliery in Xiangtan County, central China.

- March: around 33 men were killed at the unfinished Wangjialing mine in Xiangning, China, a lower fatality figure than expected after 153 miners were trapped.

- April: an underground explosion at a West Virginia mine owned by Massey Energy resulted in deaths of 29 miners. The accident at the Upper Big Branch Mine caused the biggest loss of life from a mining disaster in the United States since 1972 when a fire at the Sunshine silver mine killed 91.

- May: at least 66 miners died after underground blasts at the Raspadskaya mine in Russia, the deadliest incident in a Russian mine since 110 people were killed by a methane blast at another mine in the coal-rich Kemerovo region in March 2007.

- June: more than 70 miners were killed after a gas explosion at a coal mine in Colombia after the country's worst mining disaster in decades. In China, an explosion at an illegally operated mine in Henan, the nation's third-largest coal producing province, killed 46 miners.

- October: a gas leak in central China killed at least 26 people in a pit owned by Pingyu Coal & Electric Co Ltd, with 11 people still missing, another gas leak in 2008 at the same mine killed 23 people.


- In New Zealand's worst mining disaster, 65 miners were killed by gas in the Brunner coal mine on the West Coast in 1896. The West Coast is also home to the Pike River coal mine, where the 29 miners are currently trapped.

- The country's most recent mining disaster took place not far from the relatively new Pike River mine in 1967. An explosion in the Strongman mine, which tapped the same coal seam as Pike River is using, killed 19 miners.

- An explosion killed 43 miners at Ralph's mine in the Waikato region in 1943 after a miner's headlamp ignited methane fumes.

- In 1879 34 miners were killed in an explosion at the Kaitangata Coal Mine in Otago.

SOURCES: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand, Reuters