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BEIJING (AP) — A gas explosion at a mine in central China has killed nine workers.

The accident happened Saturday afternoon at a mine in Hunan province's Sandu township.

A Hunan work safety official says all nine workers underground at the time were confirmed dead.

The official, surnamed Zhang, says the cause of the explosion is being investigated. He says the mine is privately run.

China's coal mines are the deadliest in the world. Their safety record has improved in recent years as smaller, illegal mines have been closed.

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