Two men were killed Wednesday in an explosion at the Ignacia copper mine in northern Chile's Atacama region, authorities said.

The blast occurred shortly after 9:00 a.m. at the mine near the town of Chañaral, about 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) north of Santiago.

The bodies of the victims, identified as Cristian Gonzalez Parra, 27, and Jorge Silva Mancilla, 46, were taken to the medical examiner's office in Chañaral.

The explosion occurred as the two men were handling explosives used in their work, prosecutor Alvaro Perez told reporters, adding that Gonzalez and Silva died on the spot.

Authorities are conducting an investigation, he said. EFE