June 9, 2020 / 10:56 AM / 25 days ago

China's coal mining hub Shanxi to shut small mines by end-2020

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s coal mining hub Shanxi will shut down all small-sized coal mines, with annual capacity below 600,000 tonnes, in the province by the end of 2020, the provincial authorities said in a statement.

The northern province is China’s second biggest coal mining region by production after Inner Mongolia. It produced 971.09 million tonnes of coal in 2019, accounting for a quarter of the country’s total.

The crackdown is part of Shanxi’s plan to improve safety conditions and to get rid of outdated mines.

Shanxi is home to 954 coal mines, which had combined operational capacity of 994.75 million tonnes as of end-2019.

Of the total, 35 mines had a mining capacity smaller than 600,000 tonnes per annum, with a combined capacity of 14.85 million tonnes, according to Reuters calculation based on a document issued by the Shanxi government in March.

The province is also vowing to cap the number of coal mines at 900 by 2022 and to ban approvals for new coal mining projects smaller than 900,000 tonnes per annum.

It will also improve safety conditions at non-coal mines, metallurgical plants and chemical producers in the province.

Last month, Shanxi said it will halve its coal-washing capacity to 1.8 billion tonnes a year and reduce the number of plants involved in the process to 1,200 by the end of September.

Reporting by Muyu Xu and Tom Daly; editing by David Evans

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