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Hearings Begin Into Kazakh Mine Disaster

Shakhtinsk's Lenin Mine, where 41 miners were killed on September 20, 2006 (AFP) January 16, 2007 -- Preliminary court hearings opened in the central Kazakh town of Shakhtinsk into a gas blast that killed 41 coal miners on September 20.

Eight people have been indicted over the tragedy, which occurred in the region of Qaraghanda, and are expected to appear before the court on January 23.

Investigators have concluded that violations of safety rules were to blame for the blast, which left another 12 miners wounded.

The mine is operated by Mittal Steel Termitau, a subsidiary of the world's largest steel producer, Mittal Steel.

(Interfax-Kazakhstan, Kazakhstan Today)