North China's Shanxi Province, one of the country's major coal-producing provinces, plans to maintain its coal production within 1 billion tonnes in next five years, the provincial government said on Thursday. Speaking at the annual meeting of the provincial legislature which opened Wednesday, the government proposed a five-year development plan to curb overall production, adjust structures for coal products and boost the transformation of coal to more efficient forms like electricity or chemicals.
In addition, the province will continue to boost the integration of coal resources and mergers of mining enterprises, and reduce the number of coal mines so as to improve the efficiency of the industry, it said. Coal production in Shanxi decreased to 944 million tonnes in 2015 from 976 million tonnes in 2014. Shanxi's coal industry lost 9.425 billion yuan (1.43 billion U.S. dollars) last year as government curbs on the polluting sector took their toll, official statistics indicated on Thursday.
The industry had suffered losses for 18 consecutive months by the end of 2015, beginning in July 2014. Statistics also shows that the price for each ton of coal dropped 431.8 yuan, down 66 percent from its peak in May 2011 to December, 2015. Shanxi has produced more than 14 billion tonnes of coal since 1949, accounting for about one fourth of China's coal production.
The Shanxi government has controlled the growth of production in recent years in the hope of shaking off heavy economic reliance on coal resources. The provincial government is approving no new coal mines for the next five years to tackle overcapacity.