SHANGHAI (Reuters) - A coal mine fire in China's northern Liaoning province has killed 24 workers and left 52 injured, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Wednesday, underscoring the poor safety record of the world's biggest coal producing country.
The coal mine, a subsidiary of state-owned Fuxin Coal Corporation, caught fire early on Wednesday following a shallow 1.6 magnitude earthquake in the area at midnight, Xinhua reported, citing a company statement.
China's mines are the deadliest in the world because of lax enforcement of safety standards and a rush to feed demand from a robust economy. Sixteen workers were killed in a coal mine accident in the western region of Xinjiang last month.
Government statistics show China recorded 589 mining-related accidents last year, leaving 1,049 people dead or missing. But both the number of accidents and fatalities have fallen more than 24 per cent from 2012.
In an effort to eliminate outdated capacity and improve work safety, China plans to shut down over 2,000 small-scale coal mines by 2015.
(Reporting by Shanghai Newsroom and Fayen Wong; Editing by Joseph Radford)