Ningxia city buries its coal mining past for industries of the future

Shizuishan embraces green, advanced technologies, looks to innovation

By Sun Shangwu,Hu Dongmei and Chen Meiling in Shizuishan, Ningxia | China Daily | Updated: 2024-04-18 07:18
Share - WeChat
Workers wrap products at a factory of Ningxia Jinjing Group in December. YUAN HONGYAN/FOR CHINA DAILY

New path

Shizuishan has taken a new path to high-tech manufacturing after the mines started shutting down in 2017 as the country moved toward greater ecological preservation.

Located on the north side of the Helan Mountains, Shizuishan mushroomed in the 1960s to cater to the growth of the coal mining industry, which made up 90 percent of the city's industries. Major mining operations to extract coal and silica from the mountains started in the 1950s.

However, excessive mining led to severe destruction of the mountainous terrain. Exposed sand and gravel turned vegetation sparse, shrunk the habitats of wildlife and made the ecology of the environment extremely fragile.

The Helan Mountains National Nature Reserve covers 1,312.6 square kilometers, and accounts for 27 percent of Shizuishan's total area.

"Due to unregulated mining, the Helan Mountains area has been heavily damaged, with numerous coal washing plants and coal storage yards causing serious air and groundwater pollution," said Zhang Guoxin, director of the ecological restoration department of the city's natural resources bureau.

In 2016, an environmental protection inspection team from the central government reported the situation and urged the regional government to rehabilitate the mountain terrain.

Since 2017, a total of 39 coal mines and 61 others have been closed, with 146 sq km of damaged area restored. Only one mine is still operating, and annual coal production has decreased from 20 million tons to 2 million tons, according to the bureau.

"In recent years, Shizuishan has prioritized ecological and environmental protection as a key aspect of its overall development. The number of days with excellent air quality has steadily increased," said Chu Wei, Party secretary of Shizuishan.

|<< Previous 1 2 3 4 5 Next   >>|
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349