Monday, October 16, 2006

Coal and China: One step forward, two steps back?

Is this good news or bad news? China raises coal mine threshholds .

The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said it will not approve the opening of new coal mines that have an annual production capacity of less than 300,000 tons, state media reported. Construction of previously approved coal mines that produce less than the threshold will be halted, unless they can be consolidated with other mines. Thresholds for approval previously varied between regions: 300,000 in Inner Mongolia, Shanxi and Shaanxi; 150,000 in Henan, North, Northeast and Northwest China; and 90,000 tons in other areas. China plans to produce 2.45 billion tons of coal in 2010, up from 2.2 billion tons in 2005, with 75% produced by middle and large-sized coal mines. Mines currently under construction have a total production capacity of 600-700 million tons.

While the removal of inefficient small mines should be good, the fact that coal production is forcast to rise to 2.45billions tonnes will not help China gets its emissions under control.

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