Nation plans to close more small coal mines over safety


(Photo: Agencies)

China plans to shut down more small-capacity coal mines due to safety concerns, with a target to cut the number of mines with annual capacity of less than 300,000 tons to fewer than 800 by 2021, according to a document released by the top economic planner. 

While weeding out mines that do not meet safety and environmental standards, authorities will also support mines that boast rich resources and high safety standards to expand capacity, said the document by the National Development and Reform Commission.

To address problems such as over-supply and poor safety records, China has strictly controlled new capacity in the coal industry in recent years and halted the approval of any new coal mines unless a certain amount of outdated capacity was shut down as required.

The document said authorities will stick to the capacity replacement plan to strategically approve construction of mines with advanced capacity.

Earlier data from the China National Coal Association showed that the number of coal mines in China was reduced sharply to 5,800 at the end of 2018, while the figure was 7,000 in 2017, and the average production capacity was raised to about 920,000 tons per year. 

China produced 4 billion tons of coal in 2018, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. It also added 194 million tons of mine capacity that year, despite promising to cut excess capacity for the sector.

China imported 281.23 million tons of coal in 2018 including thermal coal, coking coal and anthracite