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Twelve Dead In Russian Coal Mine Blast

Twelve miners are reported dead after two blasts at a Russian coal mine.

Another 41 were wounded in the explosions at the mine in the Kemerovo region of Siberia.

More than 60 miners were still reported trapped underground several hours after the blasts, blamed on a methane gas leak.

The Kemerovo regional governor, Aman Tuleyev, said rescue operations had to be suspended due to fears of further explosions and a failure to clear the shaft of smoke.

Some 300 miners were in the shaft at the time of the accident.

President Dmitry Medvedev ordered Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu to ensure everything possible was done to rescue the miners.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin spoke with Tuleyev.

Russian media said a blast at the same mine three months ago killed one worker.

The mine in the city of Mezhdurechensk had reserves of some 450 million tons of coal and produced 8.9 million tons in 2007, according to the website of its owner, Raspadskaya.

compiled from agency reports