Beijing, Nov 30: At least 22 workers are trapped in a coal mine in China’s northeastern Heilongjiang Province, the latest accident to hit the country’s mining industry. The accident took place around 9:00 pm yesterday in Qitaihe city and 22 workers are trapped in the mine, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

Rescue operations are underway and the cause of the mishap is being investigated, it said. China’s mining industry has long been among the world’s deadliest with frequent mine accidents.

An explosion at a mine in the southwestern region of Chongqing on October 31 killed 33 people, just weeks after a gas explosion in another mine in Guizhou province killed seven people. China’s work safety administration reported 931 coal mine accident deaths in 2014, though official government figures are often questioned for their accuracy

China is the world’s top producer and consumer of coal. It announced plans earlier this year to shutter more than 1,000 underperforming mines, though hundreds of new coal plants are also under construction and economic planners have lifted limits on production days for some mining operations.