China's coal-rich Shanxi province established its coal production target for this year at 1.3 billion tonnes, a rise of 107 million tonnes from de facto output of 1.19 billion in 2021, according to a government guideline signed on June 20.
That's almost twice as much coal as Indonesia plans to produce this year. Early this year, the world's top thermal coal exporter set its annual coal output guideline at 663 million tonnes.
Shanxi is also striving to present another rise of 50 million tonnes to 1.35 billion tonnes in 2023, the document said.
It outlined several aspects to "effectively boost coal production" in the province, including strengthening production at existing mines, accelerating the construction of new projects, and treating suspended or sheltered projects differently by rules of market and law.
Safety is highlighted in the process of boosting production. However, coal mines are forbidden to halt operation without permission, and local governments cannot simply stop regional coal production if an accident happens.
For new projects that have been approved to build or expand, construction should be accelerated, while for those that have completed trial run at full capacity, works such as reviews and verifications should be quickened so as to let them start official operation as soon as possible.
The province now has 124 mothballed coal mines with a combined capacity of 124.3 million tonnes per annum. "Through rules of market and law, some will be put on the agenda, some will be reopened at a faster speed and some with be phased out orderly," the document said.
The provincial government encourages coal mines to do intelligent upgrade and bring in high-tech equipment to raise production effectiveness. Local governments are also required to accelerate the screening and submission of coal mines eligible to expand capacity while speeding up the approval of outdated capacity elimination to spare quotas to the advanced.
By end-February, the province had 689 coal mines in operation, with the combined production capacity hitting 1.06 billion tonnes per annum, according to an announcement issued by Shanxi Energy Administration on March 15.
Shanxi's coal output reachecd 528.24 million tonnes in the first five months of this year, up 9.3% year on year, accounting for 29.11% of China's total, official statistics showed.
(Writing by Alex Guo Editing by Tammy Yang)
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