Two miners died on Monday in an explosion in a mine located near the Chilean town of Andacollo, in the Coquimbo region, 458 kilometers (284 miles) north of Santiago, police said.

The victims, identified as Juan Herrera Cortes and Mauricio Rodriguez Vera, were employed at a mine operated by the National Mining Company, or Enamil, which began its activities there in mid-November.

First reports received by the Carabineros - Chile's militarized police - and the Fire Department said that apparently the blast occurred before the miners could get out of the El Manzano 1 mine some 40 meters (130 feet) deep.

Another worker was in the vicinity at the time of the explosion but managed to save himself.

According to first reports, the mine had not been granted the proper authority to operate by the Sernageomin national mining service, a situation that will be investigated by the judicial authorities. EFE