Geographically, the coal resources are concentrated on North China, with all of 69% being located in the provinces of Shaanxi, Shanxi and Inner Mongolia. About half of the run-of-mine coal was mined in these provinces. Only 7% was extracted in opencast pits and 93% in underground mines, where long walling dominates 93% of operations.
Las year Inner Mongolia overtook Shanxi to become the largest producer of coal, producing 637 Mt to Shanxi’s 615 Mt and Shaanxi’s 296 Mt. The majority of which is exported out of the state. Over the long-term the Inner Mongolian region to remain as the main coal producing region, especially with plant closures in the Shanxi province. In 2010 production output in Inner Mongolia is expected to reach 600 Mt riding to 800 Mt in 2015 and 1,000 Mt in 2020. Compared to the Shanxi province where output is expected to only grow by 10.4% annually to 800 Mt in 2020.
The country’s coking resources are estimated at 278 billion tonnes. Only 25% is shallower than 400 metres and this is where 90% of mining activity occurs. Half occur in highly gaseous districts and has peaked in Shandong, Anhui and in the North East.
Coal mining is a public-sector industry under the control of the State Economic and Trade Commission (SETC). The authority in charge is the State Administration of the Coal Industry (SACI). Here, the central government is increasingly focusing on the areas of welfare and mine safety, while most of the day-to-day business, including production, is left to the local administrations or provincial governments.
Town and Village Enterprises (TVEs) own 38% of the mines in operation and state sector owns the other 62%. The latter accounted for 52% of coal production output in 2009.