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At least 59 people were killed Friday in a massive landslide in a remote mining area of southwest China, officials said.

A section of a mountain in Wulong county in Chongqing municipality collapsed onto an iron ore mine and six houses, cutting power and telephone lines in a large area, according to a report posted on the Chongqing government website.

Fifty mine workers as well as nine residents were buried under the rock and earth, the report said.

"Fifty-nine is only a preliminary estimate," said an official from the county's Tiekuang township, who would only give his surname Zhang.

"Telephone communications have been cut, and there is no mobile phone signal," Zhang told AFP by phone.

Doctors and ambulances from the local hospital rushed to the remote disaster area, according to the online report, which added that many landslides had taken place on the mountain in the past.

A nurse at a hospital in Wulong said that more than 10 doctors had gone to the site.

"They have just called to say they already found three injured people, but it's really far, it takes three hours to get there from the hospital," the nurse, also surnamed Zhang, told AFP.

The Chongqing government website said that by 6:00 pm (1000GMT), rescuers had only recovered two bodies.

In September last year, 276 people were killed in northern China's Shanxi province when an industrial waste reservoir situated on a mountainside collapsed, engulfing a village in a sea of mud, rocks and mine tailings.