Asia's biggest strip coal mine in Fushun in northeast China's Liaoning Province will close in 2007 after 93 years' service and a forestry park will be constructed on its site.
The Xilutian strip coal mine has produced 260 million tons of coal in the past 88 years. About 1.6 billion cubic meters of rock has been dug out and piled in three slag heaps nearby. One of these will be turned into the park and the other two will be covered with plants by 2015.
In recent years, the local government has been alarmed by the mine's shrinking output and had planned to turn the slag heaps into farms or forests in 1998. So far the program has cost 2 million yuan (US$240,963) and 667 hectares (1,648 acres) of trees have been planted.
According to statistics from the State Forestry Administration, China has the most forestry parks in the world. They number more than 1,100 and cover a total area of 11.27 million hectares (27.85 million acres).
(Xinhua News Agency August 28, 2002)