China over-fulfills coal de-capacity tasks in past five years

By Du Yifei, People’s Daily

Huaping County, southwest China’s Yunnan Province, is home to the world’s largest mango plantation certified by the Guinness World Records. The aroma of mangos floats in the air in the county from every August to October when plentiful fruits hang on the mango trees.

However, it’s barely imaginable that the mountain was once barren and covered by dusts and coal gangue just years ago.

As one of the 100 major coal-producing counties in China, Huaping, in the old days, collected 70 percent of its fiscal revenue from coal-related industries. Though the coal sector drove economic growth, disordered mining had seriously damaged local ecology and environment, and brought harm to people’s health.

Such extensive mode is never a choice for long-term development. Therefore, the county decided to explore a new development path that prioritizes ecology and green economy.

In recent years, Huaping shut down 84 percent of its coal mines, and covered the mines and barren mountain with vegetation. It also helped 25 coal enterprises and some 46,000 employees in the industry transit to mango business.

So far, Huaping has planted 378,000 mu (25,200 hectares) of mangos, generating annual revenue of 2.28 billion yuan ($350 million). Nearly 9,000 impoverished residents in the county have been lifted out of poverty.

Huaping’s transition is an epitome of China’s efforts to cut production capacity in the coal industry and pursue a green path of development.

According to a report issued by China National Coal Association on March 3, China has over-fulfilled its de-capacity tasks in the coal industry over the past five years. As of the end of the last year, China had shut down 5,500 coal mines, and eliminated 1 billion tonnes of annual coal output capacity. As a result, the number of coal mines across the country has been reduced to less than 4,700.

Besides, the country is also accelerating its pace of the clean utilization of coals. A total of 950 million kilowatts of capacity has went through upgrades to achieve ultra-low emissions and energy efficiency, accounting for around 76 percent of the total installed capacity of the country’s coal-fired plants. During the past five years, the consumption of bulk coals has been cut by over 200 million tonnes.

By the end of the last year, China has established over 1,200 major modern coal mines that can produce 1.2 million tonnes of coals each on an annual basis, and their production makes up 80 percent of the country’s total. Shanxi Province, Shaanxi Province and Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in north and northwest China, which enjoy rich coal resources, gradually developed into coal production and processing centers. The three regions produced 71.5 percent of coals in the country last year.

The report said that the number of coal mines in China will be further cut to around 4,000 by 2025, and more than 1,000 intelligent coal mines are expected to be built by that time.

Besides, the country will also build 65 major coal mines with each having a capacity of 10 million tonnes, and they will generate nearly one billion tonnes of coals every year. China will foster three to five coal enterprises to become world-class firms, promote acquisition, merger and restructuring, and establish 10 coal firms that produces one million tonnes of coals a year each.

In addition, machines are expected to extract 90 percent of coals and excavate 75 percent of coal mines across the country.