China's coal industry will maintain a vigorous development trend in the next five years and see bright prospects in a long period, Wang Xianzheng, deputy director of the State Work Safety Administration, said in a forum in Beijing on Monday.
Coal is China's basic energy, taking up some 70 percent of the primary energy. The eleventh five-year plan, the blueprint for China's development from 2006-2010, established a fundamental strategy of energy that is based on coal as well as the development of multiple alternatives, Wang said at the Sixth National Congress of Coal Science and Technology.
In recent years, China has established 177 high yield and high efficiency mines. In 2004, the mechanization level of the former state-owned major mines reached 82.7 percent. The death rate per million tons fell to 3.081 in 2004 from 5.77 in 2000. The number in major state-owned mines stood at less than 1.00. Coal production rose to 1.956 billion tons from 999 million tons in 2000.
However, China's coal industry is still falling far behind their counterparts in developed countries, Wang said, and illustrated a series of problems such as the incomplete shift from an extensive economic mode to an intensive economic mode and the lack of technology innovation.
Powered by coal-fired electricity, China's rocketing economy drove the coal industry to a new era. In 2005, the total installed capacity will reach 510 million kilowatts, up 15.7 percent from a year earlier, which requires the coal supply to rise by 120-180 million tons of coal accordingly.
Driven by the growing electricity demand and the rocketing oil price, domestic consumption of coal and coal-to-liquids will see an upswing, Wang said.
Meanwhile, it will cut the overall coal production by 120 million tons since 4,000 small-sized mines out of ineligible 10,000 might be closed by the year's end, Wang said.
However, this would create more market for the mines with safe production conditions, he said.
Under China's current energy consumption standard, China will consume over 2.2 billion tons of coal by 2010. Presently, established and establishing mines can only provide 1.67 billion tons. By 2010, coal produced in mines with safe working conditions will reach 1.85 billion tons, up from 1.2 billion tons in 2004.
(Xinhua News Agency November 15, 2005)