Chinese authorities have sent rescuers to a gold mine in the country's northeast where 22 workers are trapped underground following an explosion, state media reported on Tuesday.
The blast happened on Sunday afternoon in a town near Qixia city, located in the eastern Shandong province, a local government official said.
The explosion damaged the exit from the mine as well as the communication system, cutting off all contact with the trapped miners, according to a statement released late Monday.
The mine is owned by Shandong Wucailong Investment Co Ltd, a company which Zhaojin Mining — China's fourth-biggest gold miner — named as a "subsidiary of an associate," according to its 2019 annual report.
Mining accidents are quite common in China where the industry has a poor safety record and regulations are not properly enforced.
In September, 16 workers died from carbon monoxide poisoning in a coal mine in southwestern China, after they were trapped by an underground fire.
Emergency workers pulled 17 people from the mine outside the city of Chongqing, but only one was rescued alive.
In December, 23 miners died after being trapped in a mine in the same city.
Chinese coal mines saw 170 fatal accidents leading to 316 deaths in 2019, according to the state-run People's Daily.