BEIJING — A violent rock burst in a coal mine killed 11 people in China's northeastern Heilongjiang province on Tuesday, Chinese state broadcaster CCTV reported.

Mining work can release pressure from surrounding formations and trigger a literal explosion of rocks. An initial assessment determined that is what caused the fatalities in Heilongjiang province, CCTV said.

The Shuangyashan Coal Company, which operates the mine, was fined in the past for violating several safety regulations, according to local media reports. This year alone, it was fined 10 times, according to a report from Shangyou News, a state-backed media outlet.

China has been working on improving mine safety to combat accidents that happen with some frequency. In August, another coal mine explosion also killed 11 people in northern China's Shaanxi province. A coal mine fire in southern China’s Guizhou province killed 16 people in September.

Just a few weeks ago, a major fire at a coal mining company building in northern China killed 26 and injured dozens, though the blaze was not in the mine itself.

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