An eyewitness said many local villagers were engaged in illegal mining when the mine caved in.
The open-pit mine operated by small local firm Xinjing Coal Mining Co collapsed in a landslide, leaving dozens of workers buried under a huge pile of debris half a kilometre wide and an estimated 80 m high.
Power producers and distributors have warned of blackouts as generation units are running coal as low as two days.
2021 Goldman Environmental prize winner Liz Chicaje paddles on the Ampiyacu River in Peru. Thomson Reuters Foundation/Goldman Environmental Prize.
At least five people have been identified by the district administration - four from Assam and one from Tripura- who got stuck somewhere inside the rat-hole mine.