China is planning to close down nearly 2000 small coal mines this year as part of its push to stamp out the production of low quality coal.
High levels of air pollution and more stringent environmental standards have led to the move.
Reuters reports old and depleted mines in the country’s east will be the first to close, while there are plans to consolidate output from operations in remote regions including Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang.
The National Energy Administration said local governments should facilitate mergers and mine upgrades to create a safer industry.
The closures will reportedly target mines with an annual output below 90,000 tonnes, as well as those with lower quality coal or questionable safety records.
In 2012 China closed 628 smaller coal mines, enhanced technological efficiencies at 622 mines, and amalgamated 388 mines.
China’s latest five year plan, covering 2011 to 2015, pushes for a reduction in non-renewable resource consumption.
It wants to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels for energy from 70 per cent to 64 per cent by 2017.
China is also aiming to produce no more than 4.1 billion tonnes of coal by 2015, up from 3.7 billion tonnes in 2013.