The accident took place shortly after midnight at Qusheng Coal Mining Company’s illegally operated underground mine in Baiyin city in the province of Gansu.
Rescuers have reportedly retrieved all the miners as of midday Tuesday local time with most of the 14 survivors hospitalized for injuries sustained in the 150m fall.
According to a report by official state media outlet Xinhua, the cable which snapped had been replaced on July 29 but an initial investigation suggested the carriages were overloaded.
Qusheng had been ordered by safety authorities to halt production as part of an initiative to consolidate 55 small mines in the region into 10 larger ones.
The Qusheng mine in Baiyin is only designed to produce 90,000 tonnes per annum.
The report found that the vehicle ascending a 28-degree incline along a 704m slope broke only 80m from the entrance of the mine.
No details have come to light about the whereabouts of the mine owners.