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China To Rein In Coal Production

Limit output to 2.6 billion tons by 2010.

Equivalent to that year's estimated demand, China will limit its annual coal output to 2.6 billion tons by 2010, the National Development and Reform Commission said Jan. 23. The government plans to consolidate the coal mines and expand the output of high-quality coal.

In order to improve efficiency and coal-mine safety, the government aims to set up 14 to 18 key enterprises with production capacity exceeding 50 million tons by 2010. These industry giants will produce at least 50% of the country's total coal output, the plan said.

China, the world's largest coal producer and consumer, right now digs up significantly more coal than it consumes, official data suggest. Its total coal output last year was estimated at around 2.4 billion tons, while demand was just 2.25 billion tons, earlier reports said.

While seeking to rein in oversupply, the measures, foreseeing the establishment of large coal-mining groups, also seems targeted at curbing fatalities in China's vast number of small mines. The policy aims to reduce the number of small coal mines to 10,000 by 2010, down from about 18,000 now.

A total of 2,845 coal mining accidents were recorded in China during 2006, resulting in the deaths of 4,746 people, state-run Xinhua news agency reported earlier this month

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007

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