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Huan reports: "China has stepped up efforts to reduce the number of coal mines, as it plans to shut down more than 2,000 mines next year and limit the number to within 10,000 by 2016."

A coal-fired power plant. (photo: AP)
A coal-fired power plant. (photo: AP)


ALSO SEE: Obama Blows a Chance to Crack Down on Coal

China Plans to Shut Down 2,000 Coal Mines Next Year in Effort to Reduce Pollution

By Si Huan, China Daily

26 December 14

 

hina has stepped up efforts to reduce the number of coal mines, as it plans to shut down more than 2,000 mines next year and limit the number to within 10,000 by 2016.

More than 1,100 coal mines were closed this year to eliminate outdated capacity, according to a report by a top work safety watchdog.

Yang Dongliang, head of the State Administration of Coal Mine Safety, said that the general situation this year is satisfactory and the number of major workplace accidents has been greatly reduced.

The shutdown plan aims at improving work safety at mines and reducing pollution.

Last month, a fire at a coal mine of State-owned Liaoning Fuxin Coal Corp claimed 28 lives and injured 50 people.

In June, 11 workers died and eight were injured in a gas explosion in a coal mine of Guizhou Hualong Coal Industry in Guizhou province. The company is a joint venture between a local coal firm and Hong Kong-listed China Resources Power Holdings.

Small coal mines are more prone to accidents and their outdated facilities have been criticized for low efficiency and causing pollutants. All coal mines with annual production capacity of less than 90,000 metric tons are required to be gradually closed, as well as those mines that are operating illegally and do not comply with State safety requirements.

China's top legislature approved amendments to the Work Safety Law in August in an effort to reduce workplace accidents.

The law, effective from Dec 1, increases penalties and reinforces the concept of human safety taking priority over economic progress. A major accident will result in penalties of between 1 million yuan ($161,000) and 5 million yuan, and extraordinarily serious accidents will be punished by fines between 5 million and 20 million yuan.

According to the administration office, between January and October, the number of coal mine accidents and fatalities were reduced by 15.1 percent and 15.4 percent compared with the same period last year.

Of the 50 major coal-producing counties in China, the number of accidents had dropped by 29.7 percent and deaths fell by 36.5 percent from January to November on a year-on-year basis, according to the work safety watchdog. Fourteen of the 50 counties had no accidents in the first 11 months of the year.

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+3 # Radscal 2014-12-26 12:35
I don't understand this. U.S. exports of coal to China have been skyrocketing since 2009 to the highest levels in history. Overall, the U.S. is the world's 4th greatest exporter of coal in the world.

Why is China importing ever more coal from us, while cutting coal mining there?
 
 
+1 # lnason@umassd.edu 2014-12-26 13:23
You are correct to be confused.

China announced in January 2014 (per Reuters) that they would be adding 860 million tons to production between 2011 and 2015. In September 2014 however China announced a ban on high-sulfur or high ash content coal which would force some mines to close. This closure announcement is apparently the outcome of the September decision.

China still does not regulate mercury emissions however and this is definitely a problem. American coal has low to moderate levels of mercury while Chinese coal often contains as much as three times our highest mercury levels (as produced in the Appalachian chain).

China continues to build two new coal plants every week and, given that these plants have an expected life of at least 20 years, China will continue to use as much of its own coal as possible and will import as much coal as possible from coal exporting nations including the US.

Controlling US greenhouse gas emissions accomplishes nothing positive in the way of eliminating worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. It only means the Chinese will burn it and get the advantage of cheap energy. Moreover their pollution standards are so lax that exporting our coal to them will result in much higher levels of both normal pollution (NOX, SOX, Mercury, etc.) and carbon dioxide.

Lee Nason
New Bedford, Massachusetts
 
 
+4 # Radscal 2014-12-26 14:42
I see. I've read that much of the coal (and the even dirtier pet coke byproduct of tar sands extraction) that the U.S. ships to China is the softer, "dirtier" type.

Of course, regulating U.S. emissions does some good, but you're correct that the West cannot do it all. We all share the same atmosphere, so it doesn't matter where the carbon dioxide is released. That's why some laws and regulations need to be worldwide... a solution many "conservatives" and transnational corporations find untenable.

The technology to sequester carbon dioxide and pollutants does exist. It's just very expensive.
 

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