The booming Zhejiang Province on China's east coast will close down all collieries in the coming two to three years, thus putting an end to its 50-year-old coal mining industry, the provincial economic and trade committee has said.
The provincial government has decided to rely on larger coal producing provinces for supplies, amid the exhaustion of local resources and poor cost-effectiveness of the local mining industry, an official with the committee told Xinhua Thursday.
A cluster of collieries in Changxing in the northern part of the province and Kaihua and Jiande in the east used to produce up to 1 million tons of coal each year, but the annual output has fell to 300,000 tons in recent years and the quality of the coal is rather poor given the high sulfur content. The provincial government has therefore decided it's no more worth the high costs and high risks.
By the end of 2005, seven of the 10 collieries in the province had been closed, the provincial production safety supervision bureau said.
As the role of the local mining industry has always been minor, the local economic and trade committee said it will not affect the domestic market much if the province stops producing coal.
In 2005, Zhejiang Province consumed 90 million tons of coal and its consumption is expected to climb to 100 million tons this year.
To ensure stable coal supplies, the province has signed long-term contracts with northern coal production bases including Shanxi Province and the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and will encourage local businesses to invest in mining sectors in the neighboring provinces of Anhui, Jiangxi and Shandong.
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