China Environmental News Digest

Daily updated Environmental news related to China

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Nation to close 4,000 small coal mines annually

QITAIHE, Heilongjiang, Dec. 3 (Xinhuanet) -- China will shut down 4,000 small coal mines annually in the forthcoming three years, said Zhao Tiechui, head of the State Administration of Coal Mine Safety Supervision on Saturday.

Zhao made the remark at an on-the-spot meeting specially convened at Dongfeng Coal Mine, run by the Qitaihe branch of the Longmei Mining (Group) Co. Ltd. in Heilongjiang, where a major coal mine explosion took place on Nov. 27, killing 169 miners so far.

"We can at most keep 10,000 or so small coal mines," said Zhao,who also promised to drastically reduce the incidence of major accidents with coal mines in two years.

China now has 24,000 small coal mines with the annual production output ranging from 10,000 tons to 30,000 tons, which account for 70 percent of the country's number of coal mining ventures.

The small coal mines have not only caused grave resource waste,with a low rate of recovery, which is averaged between 10 percent to 15 percent, but also serious pollution and higher incidence ofaccidents major, posing a long-standing problem endangering safetyat coal mines in the country, according to Zhao.

Those to be closed will include privately owned coal mines and state owned coal pits, and the methods such as restructuring and mergers will be adopted in the process of closure, said Zhao.

"Closing of small coal mines won't affect the country's demand for coal," said Zhao, adding the country had approved establishment of 13 large coal production bases each capable of turning out over 100 million tons of coal annually.

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