Mines Shut as China Burns Less Coal – China Real Time Report – WSJ

Yu County, a sprawling mountainous area in China’s northern industrial province of Hebei, is known for its ancient temples and coal mines. These days, the temples remain, but the mines are vanishing. As the WSJ’s Chuin-Wei Yap and Rhiannon Hoyle report:

“We used to have around 300 coal mines in the area. Now it’s down to 70-plus,” said a manager of a local pit who identified himself only as Mr. Cheng. Shrinking profit margins and a failure to meet safety standards have led many to close, Mr. Cheng said. His own midsize company, Kanghe Coal Mining Co., was swallowed by a larger competitor, state-owned Kailuan Group Co., last year.

What is happening in Yu County is an illustration of the bleak times for the global coal industry. Tougher environmental standards coupled with shrinking demand have led to the closing of mines across China and sent coal prices to their lowest in six years. China’s coal output likely fell 2.5% in 2014, the first annual decline in 14 years, the China Coal Industry Association said last week. And while full-year data aren’t yet available, official statistics show China consumed 1.1% less coal in the first three quarters of 2014 than a year earlier.

via Mines Shut as China Burns Less Coal – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

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