State-owned company Shanxi TZ Coal Mining Machinery announced last week that it had sold China's first domestically developed "intelligent" coal mining machinery, according to Xinhua.
Company spokesman Cao Keshun said three sets of intelligent mining equipment were sold to Chinese mining companies last Monday.
Cao said coal could be dug out, conveyed and processed by a single staff technician who operates the machines remotely from above ground.
The machines have the production capability of 50 to 100 workers, producing around 10 million tons of coal annually in a single mine.
Chinese mining has a reputation for being dangerous, with more than 1300 people killed in mining accidents last year, according to the State Administration of Work Safety.
Machines such as these would provide a safer, more cost-efficient option for coal companies but have the potential to encourage more people to turn to the country’s perilous illegal mining culture due to a shortage of work.