Seven workers have been injured in an underground methane gas explosion at a coal mine in Russia’s Siberia region.
The accident took place at 4:56am local time near the town of Belovo in the Kemerovo Oblast region, RIA Novosti news agency reported.
Russia’s Emergency Ministry reported three miners sustained injuries while four others suffered moderate burns. Fifty five workers were rescued in total.
Authorities are investigating the accident.
“A criminal case has been opened into the violation of safety rules during mining works causing heavy damage to human health through negligence or inflicting heavy damage,” the Investigative Committee said in a statement.
Russia has some of the world's largest coal reserves and plans to grow its current coal production levels by five times by 2030.
With the country planning to ramp up its production levels to 380 million tonnes in 2020, and up to 430 million tonnes by 2030, many fear more mining accidents may occur.
High concentration of methane remains the major cause of deadly incidents in Russian coal mines.
91 people died in May 2010, when two methane blasts occurred at the Raspadskaya mine near the west Siberian town of Mezhdurechensk. Only 80 bodies were recovered from the mine.