A Chinese explosives maker has been sentenced to death for supplying an illegal iron mine camouflaged as a wild boar farm with material that ignited in the tunnels, killing 26 miners, state media said.
The official Xinhua News Agency said Gao Huailiang was sentenced Thursday by an intermediate court in Handan, a major mining area in north China's Hebei province, for making, selling and transporting illegal explosives.
Twenty others also were sentenced to prison time for running the mine, which was hidden behind high walls and purported to be a wild boar farm, or for supplying it with homemade explosives, said the report late Thursday. Three were sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve _ a penalty that is usually commuted to life in prison.
A cache of explosives ignited in the tunnels of the covert mine in Handan's Wu'an city on Feb. 17, 2008, killing 26 miners.
China's mining industry is the world's deadliest with most accidents blamed on poor safety as enterprises scramble to feed the country's insatiable demand for coal. Last month 108 miners were killed in a coal mine blast in northeast China. It was the country's deadliest mining accident in two years.