MAC/20: Mines and Communities

China Coal Crunch Expected to Worsen

Published by MAC on 2005-01-31

China Coal Crunch Expected to Worsen

Planet Ark

January 31, 2005

Beijing - China's coal shortage is expected to worsen this year in the face of increasing demand, the China Daily reported on Friday, as it struggles to clean up the world's deadliest mining industry. Coal consumption in China, the world's seventh-biggest economy, is expected to increase by 6 percent, to 2.1 billion tons, with demand continuing to outpace supply, the newspaper quoted Pu Hongjiu, deputy director of the China Coal Industry Association, as saying.

Coal fires up more than two thirds of China's generators. "Small mines with a production capacity of at least 200 million tons have to be shut down because they lack necessary safety control facilities," the report said.

Coal mine disasters killed more than 6,000 people in China last year, but the government's pledges to shut down small, illegal mines conflict with its rampant appetite for energy to feed its booming economy.

Power shortages have resulted in blackouts around the country and the commercial stronghold of Shanghai forced more than 800 companies to shift production to graveyard shifts this winter to ease pressure on the grid.

Reuters News Service

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