These mines’ production capacity equals 110 Mt/year.
China’s National Development and Reform Commission said that 15 mines across China's northern regions ranging from Inner Mongolia to Shanxi have restarted operations. Also, last July 2021, authorities announced the restart of another 38 mines in Inner Mongolia, bringing the total number brought back online to 53, according to Energy Economic Times’ report.
It is said that the combined annual production capacity of these mines exceeds 110 Mt/year.
The coal mines’ operations were resumed to address China’s rising prices in thermal coal which hit a record high in May 2021. Last December 2020, there were reports that tens of millions across the country faced power shortages in below-freezing winter temperatures as three provinces imposed curbs on electricity use when coal supply became squeezed.
Further, a report by Enerdata shows that China is the world's largest coal producer – with a production of 3.7 gigatonnes in 2020, which corresponds to its former peak level reached in 2013. Coal production has been increasing since 2016 (+3.4%/year, of which 1.4% in 2020) after a decrease between 2013 and 2016 (-4.5%/year).
While China is the biggest emitter of the world’s greenhouse gases, President Xi Jinping pledged to wean China off coal with a target of peaking carbon emissions by 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality in 30 years.
The country’s top policymakers also called for a coordinated and orderly path towards carbon neutrality in a meeting last July 2021.