CHINA> Regional
Coal-rich province to boost safety by reducing number of coal mines
Updated: 2008-09-30 10:36

TAIYUAN -- The coal-rich Shanxi Province in north China will reduce its number of coal mines in the next two years as a way to improve mining safety, the provincial government said.

Currently, Shanxi has 2,840 coal mines. That number will be reduced to 1,414 mines by 2010.

Even though there will be fewer mines, the provincial government still plans an annual coal output of 942 million tons.

The shutdown plan aims at boosting work safety at mines and reducing exploitation.

Shanxi provincial government said it will encourage mergers and acquisitions in the coal mining industry. The goal is to have two or three mining giants produce more than 100 million tons of coal per year and three to five companies that will produce more than 50 million tons per year, so that 75 percent of the coal output is churned out by major groups.

Shanxi accounts for one third of China's coal output. However, accidents have been frequent in small and sometimes illegal mines.