During a visit to north China Premier Wen Jiabao called for the establishment of large coal producing bases with annual production capacities of at least 100 million tons each.
The conditions were right for speeding up modernization of the coal industry, said Wen, during a visit to the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region between June 2 and 4.
He said advanced technologies should be adopted to increase the profits of the industry and ensure work safety.
The reform and development of the industry concerned the overall growth of the national economy and large coal production bases should be developed through acquisition and regrouping, said Wen, during a visit to the Shenhua Group which is China's largest coal producer.
The coal industry is required to develop large companies, introduce modern techniques and train staff to be more professional in their approach to mining, said Wen. He emphasized the requirement for safety in coal production operations.
During his tour of Inner Mongolia, Wen also said more effort should be put into developing stockbreeding and specialist agriculture. He added that controlling desertification and water conservation needed to be priorities.
(Xinhua News Agency June 5, 2006)