China coal market gets international outlook

By Wang Qian (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-11-17 16:43
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China coal market gets international outlook

Overview of the Tashan Mine in Datong, Shanxi, a part of the Circular Economy Park which follows a principle of "reduce, recycle and reuse". [Photo/China Daily]

China coal market gets international outlook

Wu Yongping, president of the Datong Coal Mine Group, talks with Pitsi Moloto, vice-governor of South Africa's Limpopo province.[Photo/China Daily]

One of China's coal giants, the third-largest State-owned coal mine, has plans to expand its connections with the clean energy sector during the next Five Year Plan, according to the chairman of the board of directors.

Wu Yongping, chairman of the board of directors of the Datong Coal Mine Group, told China Daily on Tuesday in reference to the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15), "Over the next five years, we will target new energy development with tens of billions of yuan to form a comprehensive new energy chain, besides coal exploration."

Datong Coal is one of the hard coal production leaders in China. It is located in the city of Datong, the second largest city in Shanxi province, which has a majority of China's coal deposits.

The company was established in 1949, as the Datong Coal Mine Administration. In 2000, it was reborn as Datong Coal Mine Group Co Ltd, with 3.5 billion yuan ($531.5 million) in registered capital.

It was by then involved in the production of coal, activated carbon, ferroalloy, granite, graphite, kaolin, pipes, fittings, and plastics.

By the end of 2008, its coal production, across 54 mines, had reached 122 million tons, with total assets amounting to 75 billion yuan.

The mine at Majialiang, near Shuozhou, about 140 kilometers to the southwest of Datong, has an annual production capacity of approximately twelve million metric tons.

Datong Coal's mines are located primarily in Shanxi and the Inner Mongolia autonomous region. Its coal production and sales this decade topped 100 million tons for four consecutive years, and hit 122 million tons in 2008.

Now, for the 12th Five-Year Plan, environmental protection and clean energy are on the company's mind, Wu said.

Other things covered by Datong Coal's 5-year plan are polycrystalline silicon and batteries, he added.

Another key industrial project is a methanol project at the Datong Guangfa Chemical Industry Co, designed for an annual production capacity of 1.2 million tons.

The first phase calls for an annual output of 600,000 tons. Upon completion, the project will be able to produce 600,000 tons of fine methanol annually, and 3,700 tons of sulfur by-product.

To consolidate its command of the coal industry, Datong Coal plans to open six shafts with an annual output of 10 million tons. The mine at Tashan, designed to produce 15 million tons annually, went into operation at the end of 2008.

In the area of green development, Tashan is taking the lead, with its Tashan Circular Economy Park, and its work toward clean coal production: the washed coal is transported by a special railway; residual coal pieces are used to produce methanol; coal rubble is separated and transported to a factory to make bricks, and low-value coal is used by the power plant to generate electricity.

At the same time, the excess heat from the power plant is used to heat residences in the area. The fly ash discharged by the pit-mouth power plant is used as raw material for the cement plant; and the kaolinic shale produced by the excavation of coal is raw material for kaolin.

The Circular Economy Park is the first to be built by Datong Coal in line with the "reduce, recycle and reuse" principle.

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The environmental, social and economic benefits of the park are clearly displayed. It demonstrates how the solid coal waste can be reused. The domestic sewage and industrial waste water go into a sewage disposal plant and can be recycled after treatment so the park can work toward the goal of "zero emissions" for waste water.

The park was in the first group of circular economy parks in a Shanxi pilot project. It is in the eastern part of the Datong Coal Field, about 30 km south of the city of Datong and 20 km from Datong Coal's headquarters.

Construction work on the park began in 2003. It is the first circular economy park of its kind in China.

In the next Five-Year Plan, the circular economy Datong Coal is expected to be worth 100 billion yuan, accounting for more than 60 percent of the group's total output value, Wu said.

Their next step is to cooperate with foreign companies in Australia, Russia, and elsewhere for further development.