September 21, 2017 / 3:14 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-China's NDRC says coal mines must not close to avoid inspections

(Adds details and background)

BEIJING, Sept 21 (Reuters) - China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) on Thursday warned coal miners not to temporarily close to avoid inspections as the country’s top economic planner works to stabilize prices amid the environmental and safety checks.

In a statement on its website, NDRC also said railway and shipping companies must make coal transport a priority, especially to power plants in the country’s northeast where stockpiles are low.

Regions such the three northeastern provinces of Liaoning, Heilongjiang and Jilin as well as the western provinces of Sichuan and Yunnan and the western city of Chongqing are “facing difficulties in securing coal supplies,” the NDRC said.

The NDRC also asked coal producers to send more coal to power plants in northeastern China that have low inventories.

In September, the operators of coal-fired power plants in Heilongjiang province issued a plea to the NDRC asking for help with securing coal supplies.

China’s thermal coal prices fell nearly 3 percent to 639.8 yuan ($96.95) a tonne on Thursday after touching a record 667.4 yuan a tonne on Tuesday.

$1 = 6.5996 Chinese yuan renminbi Reporting by Muyu Xu and Josephine Mason; Editing by Richard Pullin and Christian Schmollinger

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