Shanxi to auction off coal mines
By Wang Ying (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-04-18 08:42

Shanxi, the Chinese province that produces more coal than any other, will sell three coal mines with combined reserves of up to 300 million tons by June.

Each of the three mines has a reserve of between 50-100 million tons,  according to an official with the trading centre of Shanxi Land and Resource Bureau.

Two of the mines are located in the counties of Lanxian and Xiangfen. The location of the third has not been disclosed.
The resource-rich province will sell the mining rights through a competitive bidding process, the official said.

"We have received approval from the provincial government," the official said.

According to industry regulations, coalmines with reserves of more than 100 million tons have to obtain national-level approval before they can be sold.

Those with less than 100 million tons of reserves can be sold with approval from the provincial government.

The government official yesterday refused to reveal how long the mining rights would last for, how much they wanted for them and whether foreign investors would be allowed to be involved.

Huang Teng, a senior industry consultant, who previously worked with China Coal, the country's second-biggest coal producer, said government policies do not block foreign control of coalmines, except for coking coal that is scarcer.

A researcher with the Ministry of Land and Resources, who declined to be identified, yesterday said the government was cautious about approving foreign ownership of China's energy resources.

China is the world's largest coal producer and consumer. Last year, the country produced 2.1 billion tons of coal to drive its fast-growing economy, a quarter of which came from Shanxi Province.

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