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Shanxi to Limit Annual Coal Output to 600m Tons

China's leading coal producing province of Shanxi has vowed to limit its annual coal production to 600 million tons in the coming three years.

Instead of rashly expanding output, the north China province aims to integrate its coal resources and further optimize its mining industry, said sources from an ongoing meeting on the province's industry and economic work.

Shanxi plans to consolidate its 6,500 mines into 50 large mines with annual outputs of 900,000 tons each and 500 medium-sized mines with outputs of 300,000 to 600,000 tons each, according to the provincial government.

Industry sources say the province will eventually limit the total number of coal mines to around 3,000. It will begin this year by phasing out small mines with annual production below 90,000 tons and will no longer approve new mines that produce less than 300,000 tons a year.

The province also aims to sharpen the competitive edge of its state-owned mining conglomerates and focus on building three major coal bases in its northern, central and eastern parts.

Meanwhile, the coal mining industry is expected to team up with power and other energy sectors to transform coal into cleaner, more economical fuel such as gasoline and methanol. 

In 2004, the northern province produced 500 million tons of raw coal. Xi'shan Coal Mining Co., the country's largest coking coal producer, reported a record 30 million tons and its death rate for every million tons was zero thanks to technological innovations, enhanced management and tighter safety procedures.

(Xinhua News Agency January 21, 2005)

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