Most of coal miners in state-owned coal mining companies in central China's Shanxi Province will stay on post in the upcoming Spring Festival, as the country's largest coal producer has been ordered to do its utmost to guarantee the supply of the much-needed fuel to snow-hit regions.
Chen Chuanping, vice governor of Shanxi mobilized coal miners to stay on post to keep the production around-the-clock.
Most parts of China remained short of electricity amid severe coal shipment disruptions and physical damage to the grid caused by the prolonged snow, sleet and cold weather.
"Our coal shipments will prioritize disaster-hit regions," said Chen.
He estimated that about two thirds of workers in state-owned coal mines, which are responsible for half of the coal production in the province will spare the week-long holiday.
"The effort will help increase 30 percent of the coal production during the holiday, compared to the same period of the last year," said Chen.
President Hu Jintao took an inspection tour last Thursday to coal fields in Datong of Shanxi Province. He entered a coal mine more than 400 meters underground, taking an elevator down to meet miners of the Datangtashan coal mine co-op in Datong.
"Disaster-hit areas need coal and the power plants need coal," Hu told administrators and workers of the mine, saying that coal supply had been a crucial part in fighting against the snow disaster.
In response, Tongmei Company Group based in Datong, Shanxi, decided to shorten its Spring Festival holiday to a single day. Coal production won't be interrupted because of the festival, said a corporate executive.
Liu Janzhong, deputy manager of Shanxi Coking Coal Group told Xinhua that the metallurgy industry used to consume 60 percent of the company's coal output. The company has lowered the proportion, and supplied 60 percent of its coal output to power plants.
By the end of January, daily shipments of coal out of Shanxi were averaged at 18,009 cars, 1,968 cars more than the same period of last year.
Shanxi produced 630 million tons of coal in 2007, 550 million tons of which were shipped out of the province.
(Xinhua News Agency February 2, 2008)