When it came to coal, Shanxi province was always China’s ‘Saudi Arabia’. But not any more.
In the first quarter of this year an unusual thing happened: it was outproduced. Inner Mongolia mined 21.8 million tonnes more coal than Shanxi, according to the 21 CN Business Herald.
Due to colliery closures and the Tunlan mine disaster – which saw 74 miners killed in February – Shanxi produced only 108 million tonnes of coal in the first quarter. But Inner Mongolia increased its production tally by 31.6 million tonnes to 129.8 million tonnes – accounting for a little over 23% of China’s total in the period.
Nor was this a flash in the pan. “We have 700 billion tonnes of proven coal reserves, which ranks Inner Mongolia first in China,” says Pan Zhaodang, chief researcher of the local branch of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
And thanks to more modern methods, Inner Mongolia not only has the lowest mining cost in the country, says Pan, but also the best safety record.
The national average sees 4 miners killed per million tonnes of coal mined; but in Inner Mongolia the death rate is considerably lower: 0.1 deaths per million tonnes.
Not surprisingly, the energy sector is boosting Inner Mongolia’s GDP. The autonomous region saw its GDP increase by 15% in the first quarter – few places will rival that performance at the moment.
Just don’t mention Dutch Disease…
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