Eco-friendly mining helps drive environmental cleanup

By Yuan Hui and Hou Liqiang | China Daily | Updated: 2023-07-20 09:25
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An aerial photo of the vast array of solar panels built as part of Tianjiao Green Power, a rehabilitation project aimed at balancing the environmental and economic development of coal mines in Ordos, Inner Mongolia autonomous region. [Photo provided to CHINA DAILY]

Editor's note: As protection of the planet's flora, fauna and resources becomes increasingly important, China Daily is publishing a series of stories to illustrate the country's commitment to safeguarding the natural world.

Rehabilitation and afforestation programs are transforming badly scarred landscapes. Yuan Hui reports from Hohhot with Hou Liqiang in Beijing.

In Xiao Cunhai's memory, the mountains around his home village were shaped like "huge chicken claws" as they were dotted by gullies of various sizes.

The area also had poor vegetation coverage. "When the wind rose in spring, the loess soil would be blown up and fly everywhere," recalled the 45-year-old from Sanbaoyaozi, a village in Juungar Banner, Ordos, Inner Mongolia autonomous region.

Now the "huge chicken claws" are no longer visible. Instead, the area is covered by apple trees and grapevines. "I never imagined that the place could be transformed into what it is at present, with the blue sky and green land," Xiao said with a smile.

Locals like Xiao have not only benefited environmentally, but also financially. Working in the orchard near his home, Xiao can make 150,000 yuan ($21,000) a year.

The stark contrast he described is due to the Dafanpu Mine, which has operated in the area since 2012, producing 6.5 million metric tons of coal every year.

As China forges ahead with advancing ecological civilization and rural vitalization, the mine, together with many other similar facilities in the area, is a microcosm of the synergy that can be generated when the two campaigns are promoted simultaneously.

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