Five new coal fields with combined reserves of 660 million tons have been discovered in central China's Henan Province, said an official from the province's geological resource exploration and development bureau yesterday.
Meanwhile the province will also soon develop another coal mine with reserves of 70 million tons, which is not one of the five new finds, Mr. Wang a director with the bureau told China Daily.
The five new discoveries will help the province address growing energy demands, balance resource allocation across the region and may help improve the country's coal product structure, industry analysts said.
"We will announce details of the 70-million-ton mine probably this week and expect it to become t the fourth largest colliery in China," Mr Wang said.
Yesterday he refused to disclose the expected annual production of the mine and which company would be responsible for developing the coal reserves.
Of the five newly-discovered coal fields, three have been verified by the local bureau as having proven reserves with volumes ranging from 70-130 million tons. The other two are subject to further assessment but one of them has estimated reserves of up to 250 million tons, the director said. All the five have yet to get final verification at national level.
Huang Teng, a senior analyst with Beijing LT Consultants Ltd, said that judging by the location of the new mines discovered in Henan, the main coal product will be anthracite, something which China currently imports for much of its domestic needs.
According to the new five-year plan drafted by the provincial government Henan expects to produce an average of 150 million tons of coal a year by 2010.
Last year the country produced 2.1 billion tons of coal with much of it from resource-rich regions such as Shanxi Province, the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and Henan.
(China Daily March 15, 2006)