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Coal fair to boost industry
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The international coal fair, which will be held in Shanxi for the second time this year, will further boost the province's coal industry, said a senior commerce official.

"Coal will remain China's main energy source for a long time. As China's largest coal production base, the fair will help to further upgrade the industry in the province," said Gao Hucheng, vice-minister of commerce.

This year's fair, the second China (Taiyuan) International Coal & Energy New Industry Expo, will be held in September. International cooperation, scientific innovation as well as energy saving and environmental protection will be the themes of this year's fair.

The fair will invite over 400 foreign companies, including those leading in the sector such as Siemens from Germany and Komatsu from Japan. Among domestic companies, Shenhua Group and Datang Group will attend the fair.

At the first fair held last year, 254 cooperation deals were reached, with a total investment of $24.6 billion. Among them, over 200 projects will kick off this year, said the fair's organizers.

Shanxi is China's largest coal-producing province. The region's coal output last year reached 630.21 million tons, according to the China National Coal Association.

Several coal production enterprises in Shanxi have become industry leaders in the country. Some have also been focusing on the lucrative coalbed methane business and coal-to-chemical business.

Several coalbed methane pipelines have been planned for Shanxi. With a total investment of over 3 billion yuan, they will better utilize the province's vast coalbed methane resources - a coal-mine gas with components similar to natural gas.

China produced 2.52 billion tons of coal last year, up 8.2 percent from 2006. Coal output has been steadily growing in the past five years.

The National Development and Reform Commission last year published the national coal industry policy, raising the entry bar for coal and coalbed methane exploration and production. Industry consolidation, mine safety, technology improvement, energy saving and environmental protection were also highlighted in the policy.

(China Daily April 24, 2008)

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