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At Least Seven Dead In Pakistan Mine Blast; More Casualties Feared

FILE: Coal miners protest against the poor working conditions after a coal mine collapsed in Pakistan's Balochistan province in May.

At least seven miners have been killed and six others were missing and feared dead after an explosion ripped apart a coal mine in the southwestern Pakistani province of Balochistan, reports say.

The blast occurred on August 12 in the village of Sanjdi, some 50 kilometers east of Quetta, the provincial capital.

The cause for the blast remained unclear.

Police initially said it was a methane gas explosion, but later reports said the mine caved in after the miners used dynamite during an excavation.

Provincial chief mines inspector Muhammad Iftikhar said rescue teams were still working to find the miners who remain trapped, but do not expect to find them alive.

The number of miners involved has differed in several Pakistani news reports.

The country has suffered many coal-mine disasters, a situation that critics have blamed on poor safety measures.

In May, at least 23 miners were killed in accidents triggered by a methane gas explosion at a coal mine in western Pakistan.

A cave-in at a mine in Marwaarh, east of Quetta, killed 16 miners. Seven more were killed in a landslide at another mine nearby.

The Pakistan Central Mines Labor Federation has said that an average of 200 miners a year die in accidents.

With reporting by AFP, AP, Dunya News, BBC, and Pakistan Today