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At Least 20 Killed in Colombia Mine Blast


Rescue workers stand in front of the coal mine La Preciosa after an explosion at the mine in Sardinata, Norte de Santander province, January 27, 2011

Rescue workers stand in front of the coal mine La Preciosa after an explosion at the mine in Sardinata, Norte de Santander province, January 27, 2011

At least 20 people have been killed and six others injured in an explosion at a coal mine in northeastern Colombia.

Officials say the blast happened early Wednesday at La Preciosa mine in Norte de Santander province, which borders Venezuela.

So far, at least eight bodies have been recovered. Reports say rescuers were searching for survivors.

Officials say early indications point to a methane gas buildup as the cause of the explosion. The Mining and Energy Ministry says the facility will be shut down indefinitely.

Colombia is among the world's five largest coal exporters.

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