Eight local officials have been suspended from their posts in the wake of a coal mine accident this week in the southwestern Chinese province of Yunnan that left 17 dead.

Those officials include the head of the Coal Mines department in Fuyuan County, where the accident occurred, state-run Chinese news agency Xinhua reported Saturday.

The director and legal representative of the Shangchang mine also have been arrested in connection with the tragedy.

The 17 miners died Wednesday in a gas explosion that also left six other workers injured.

The initial investigation found that an explosive device was set off inside the mine, which had a high concentration of gas and lacked control measures.

Chinese coal mines are the most dangerous in the world, with around 3,000 deaths occurring annually due to lack of safety measures and cave-ins caused by overexploitation.

Coal supplies between 60 percent and 70 percent of the energy needs of the world's second-largest economy. EFE