June 16, 2017 / 7:36 AM / a year ago

China allows coal mines to increase capacity amid price rally

BEIJING (Reuters) - China will allow some coal mines to increase capacity, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said on Friday, as Beijing ramps up efforts to boost supply for summer.

FILE PHOTO: A worker shovels coal at a freight yard in Hefei, Anhui province, January 13, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo

Both open pit and underground mines will be able to apply to increase production capacity as long as they haven’t reported major accidents, are efficient mines and follow strict safety measures, the NDRC said in a statement.

Producers in regions that have complex geological conditions, are vulnerable to firedamp accidents or have been required by the government to cut capacity will not be eligible to apply.

NDRC’s latest move came as China’s coal futures prices rose to a record high on Friday as warm weather leading into the summer season raised investors’ expectations for increased demand.

“China’s coal output will likely increase, easing the gain in prices following NDRC’s effort to relax production curbs,” said Zhang Min, a coal analyst with China Sublime Information Group said.

China’s coal production rose 12 percent in May from a year ago, notching the fastest growth pace in years, official data showed on Wednesday.

The NDRC said producers granted quota increases would need to shut down some old inefficient coal mines in exchange.

Reporting by Meng Meng and Josephine Mason; Editing by Richard Pullin

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