China's top economic planner says that more small coal mines will be shut down because of their impact on resources and the environment, or because they fail to comply with the country's industrial policy.
The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) reiterated in a circular issued on Monday that it would close down 4,000 small coal mines by the end of the year. It said it would focus not only on illegal coal mines with poor safety facilities but on all small coal mines.
The process will be bottom-up, starting in the coal-producing towns themselves, said the commission.
It asked local governments to examine all coal mines with a production capacity of less than 300,000 tons and decide what to do with them.
The country aims to reduce its number of small coal mines to 10,000 by 2010.
The commission said coal mines with a production capacity of less than 300,000 tons would no longer get building permits and ongoing small projects would be integrated with other coal mines where possible, expanded if conditions permit, or halted.
China had shut down a total of 2,392 small coal mines by the end of March in efforts to clean up and professionalize its deadly coal mining sector.
(Xinhua News Agency May 1, 2007)