Pakistan police have confirmed that 45 people died in yesterday's methane gas explosions at a coal mine in the southwest province of Baluchistan.

Hope that there would be any survivors from the disaster is fading.

More than 50 miners were in the mine when three big explosions triggered by methane gas ripped through the caverns.

'45 miners have died. We have retrieved 25 bodies so far,' Aslam Bizenjo, provincial irrigation minister, told the provincial assembly.

Officials said the chances of finding the trapped workers alive were very slim because of a fire, which had consumed all the oxygen.

Witnesses said the bodies had severe burns from the huge fire.

The mine, some 35km from the provincial capital, Quetta, is owned by the state-run Pakistan Mineral Development Corporation and was leased to a contractor.

Mohammad Iftikhar, chief inspector of mines in the region, said the contactor had been asked to shut down the mine two weeks ago because of an excessive accumulation of methane gas.

Such explosions are not uncommon in coal mines in Pakistan, most of which are located in Baluchistan and neighbouring Sindh.