China to shut 4,300 coal mines

CHINA will shut down 4,300 of its inefficient coal mines and allocate 30 billion yuan in funds over the next three years to redeploy around 1 million workers, according to state media agency Xinhua.

Lou Caruana

Annual production capacity from its existing 11,000 mines would be cut by 700 million tonnes over the three year period. Its production capacity surplus is said to amount to more than 2 billion tonnes a year – or about 50% of its annual production capacity.

Total raw coal output fell 3.5% to 3.68 billion tonnes last year, according to official data, the second annual decline in a row as prices fell by about a third during the year.

The government wants to lessen the share of coal in its energy mix as part of efforts to cut smog and greenhouse gas emissions in its major cities, while at the same time hoping to secure a soft landing for its own coal mining industry -- which employs around 6 million people.

The central government has already stated it would ban new mine approvals for the next three years.