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China discovers huge coal reserve in northwest
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China discovered a 3-billion-tonne coal reserve at Aiding Lake in its northwestern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

The Xinjiang Bureau of Coal Geology said Wednesday the coal field, which includes the lake, has a perimeter of 16 by 10 kilometers. The coal bed is estimated to be 10-22 meters deep.

The bureau started exploration of the country's lowest altitude lake in February. It found the coal reserve at the end of March but just announced its findings Wednesday.

It suggested more coal exists in areas surrounding the lake, which could bring the total reserve in the region to 27 billion tonnes.

Local geologists were still exploring the region.

Aiding Lake, Uygur for "Moonlight", lies 30 km southeast of Turpan city and has a water surface of seven square kilometers. It is the world's second-lowest lake after the Dead Sea in the Middle East.

China's lowest inland point at 154.31 meters below the sea level lies in the lake.

(Xinhua News Agency April 8, 2009)

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