The fire, at a mine run by Hengda Coal in Liaoning province at 02.35 local time (20.35 Tuesday Turkish time), injured another 52 other miners, the state-owned Liaoning Fuxin Coal Corporation told Xinhua news agency.
A member of hospital staff said some of the injured were in a critical condition, with the victims mostly suffered burns and respiratory damage, Xinhua reported.
Around an hour before the fire, a 1.6-magnitude earthquake was monitored nearby. An initial investigation has shown that coal dust was ignited shortly after the earthquake.
Hengda Coal has halted operations in all of its mines.
Lax regulation and poor operating procedures make China’s mines the deadliest in the world.
According to government statistics, 589 mining-related accidents last year left 1,049 people dead or missing.
Labor rights groups say accidents are under-reported as managers seek to limit losses and avoid punishment, meaning the death toll is likely to be much higher.
China is the world’s biggest consumer of coal, using it to supply two-thirds of its energy needs last year. The country produces more than one-third of annual global coal output but accounts for more than two-thirds of mining deaths around the world annually, Mining Technology reported earlier this year.
In June, 22 workers were killed in an accident at Yanshitai coal mine in southwestern China. Last month, 16 miners were killed when a colliery collapsed in western Xinjiang province.
The world’s worst coal mine disaster occured at Benxihu in Liaoning in 1942 when 1,549 miners working under the control of Japanese occupation forces died.