Canadian Manufacturing

China’s big shift from coal: country to earmark US$4.6B to close 4,300 mines

Asian country will trim overproduction as it focuses on renewables

BEIJING—As worsening pollution stalks the streets of industrial cities across China, the country is looking to speed its transition from coal-fired generation. As a result, the country’s massive coal mining industry is feeling the squeeze.

Late last week Chinese state media agency, Xinhua, said the country’s economic planner is preparing for a major coal production cut. China plans to close 4,300 coal mines, eliminating 700 million tonnes of “outdated” production, over the next three years. In doing so, the country will also look to relocate one million employees.

According to Reuters, China had about 11,000 coal mines in operation at the end of 2015, with a total capacity of 5.7 billion tonnes.

As the Asian giant puts a greater emphasis on air quality and greenhouse gas emissions, it is investing heavily in renewable energy. China is already the largest market for renewables in the world, and is likely to maintain this position as it focuses on reducing smog. There are some indications the effort is already yielding results. According to Bloomberg, China’s emissions from coal likely fell by 2 per cent in 2015.

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