China's coal production is expected to surpass 2 billion tons this year, two times that of 2000, vice president of the China Coal Industry Association Pu Hongjiu said on Monday.
Addressing the second conference of the China-Australia Coal Summit, Pu forecast that the domestic demand for coal, fueled by China's industrialization and urbanization drive, will exceed 2.5 billion tons by the year 2020.
In the coming years, China's economy will maintain its high growth rate, which will lead to increasing consumption of coal for the aim of generating electricity. Coal will also be widely used in the metallurgical, building material and chemical industries, he noted.
Pu predicted that coal consumption used for generating electricity will increase from last year's 980 million tons to 1.6 billion tons in 2020.
Due to the fast growing demand for coal, the industry achieved 41.8 billion yuan (US$5.15 billion) in profits in 2004. While in 2000, all of China's coal-producing enterprises reported losses.
The goal of the industry in the longer term is to build new production systems, save production costs, and improve safety and the quality of personnel so as to maintain healthy and sustainable development.
(Xinhua News Agency October 25, 2005)