Eighteen workers trapped underground at Polish mine

KRAKOW (REUTERS) - Eighteen miners are trapped underground in a Polish copper mine after an earthquake caused a cave-in, a spokesman for mine operator KGHM said.

The miners are trapped 600m below ground at the Rudna mine, about 400 km southwest of the Polish capital, and there has been no contact with them for two hours, KGHM spokesman Dariusz Wyborski said.

"There was a quake in the Rudna mine," Mr Wyborski said. "The rescue operation is difficult because huge amounts of rocks have to be removed."

There was no contact with the trapped miners because the tremor cut communication lines, the company said.

The mine is in the Silesia region, near Poland's borders with Germany and the Czech Republic. It has been in operation since 1974. The operator, KGHM, is Europe's second-biggest copper producer.

Poland has large numbers of mines, mostly in the heavily industrialised Silesia region. In 2006, a gas explosion at a coal mine in the region killed 23 miners.

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