Six dead in gas leak at coal mine in north-western Spain

MADRID (AFP) - A gas leak at a coal mine in north-western Spain killed six people on Monday.

Five others were taken to hospital in Leon in north-western Spain after the gas leak at the Santa Lucia mine. Emergency services initially reported that five people died.

"There seems to have been a leak of methane gas," Mr Francisco Castanon, mayor of the municipality of Pola de Gordon where the mine is located, told local television.

Spain's coal mining sector has been contracting for decades, with a reduction in government mining subsidies hastening the closure of unprofitable mines. Around 40 coal mines are still in operation, mainly in the north of the country, employing some 8,000 miners. Like other European countries, Spain has committed to gradually close unprofitable coal mines in the next few years.