China, the world’s largest coal consumer, is stepping up efforts to cut the share of coal in its overall energy mix and consequent smog and greenhouse gas emissions by investing $4.6 billion (30 billion yuan) to close small and inefficient operations across the country.
According to state news agency Xinhua, Beijing plans to close about 4,300 coal mines, remove outdated production capacity of 700 million tonnes and redeploy around 1 million workers over the next three years.
Citing the China National Coal Association, the report said China has eliminated about 560 million tonnes of coal production capacity and closed 7,250 coal mines in the last five years.
However, the country still had around 11,000 coal mines in operation by the end of 2015, with a total capacity of 5.7 billion tonnes, the report added.
The fresh measures, aimed to shrink both oversupply and a worsening pollution crisis, follows China’s decision last month to halt the approval of new coal mines until at least 2019.