The second methane explosion in a Russian coal mine in three years has killed 16 men and left five others injured in the remote Vorkutinskaya mine far north of the Arctic Circle. A total of 259 miners were underground and 23 in the section when the explosion erupted, emergency ministry officials reported.

Owned by steel-making giant Severstal and located in the coking coal-heavy region of Vorkuta, the mine has operated since 1973 with an annual output of 1.8 million mt with reserves estimated at 40 million mt.