China will accelerate its plans to build 13 large-scale coal production facilities this year, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) has stated.
"China will build several extra-large opencast coal mines and some modern large-scale underground mines this year," said Zhang Guobao, vice minister of the NDRC on hearing a coal industry report on February 6. He said the central government would soon give its views on the construction plans for the 13 production areas.
Hand in glove with consolidating the small and medium-sized coal mines, the strategy to build 13 new large-scale production areas got underway in 2003. The 13 bases are: Shendong, Jinbei, Jindong, Mengdong, Yungui, Henan, Luxi, Jizhong, Lianghuai, Honglong, Jizhong, Ningdong and Shaanbei.
The development blueprint includes 14 provinces and autonomous regions and covers an area of 103,400 square kilometers. The areas have over 40 major coalfields with combined coal deposits of 690.8 billion tons – a figure which accounts for 70 percent of the total national reserve.
Last year Shendong became China's first modern mining region with annual production of over 100 million tons. There are plans to increase the annual output to 150 million tons by 2010 and 200 million tons by 2020.
It is anticipated that the 13 proposed mines would have a combined output of 1.7 billion tons by 2010.
Large-scale coal businesses are being encouraged to promote and invest in multiple development. A leading example of this is the coal production giant, Shenhua Group, who has been involved in providing its own railway networks, port facilities and power generation plants, said Mr Zhang.
He added that at the same time China should support power companies wishing to enter the coal production industry.
He pointed out that this year the coal industry should focus on restructuring and look at opening new mines.
(China.org.cn by Yuan Fang, February 15, 2006)